Skip to main content

Full text of "The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn"

See other formats


y^g OUJ68126 >3J 

5 99 < c/) 

^ _i > 

With the Compliments of 







3f FINN 

"When I lit my candle and went up to my room 
that night there sat Pap his own self." 


The Adventures of 



The Heritage Illustrated Bookshelf 


The special contents of this edition are 
copyright, 1940, by The Heritage Press. 

Printed in the United State* of America 













xi. THEY'RE. AFTER us! 75 



















xxxi. YOU CAN'T PRAY A LIE 249 














"When I lit my candle and went up to my room that night there 

sat Pap his own self Frontispiece 

"Then Miss Watson took me in the closet and prayed but noth- 
ing come of it" 28 

"Jim got down on his knees, and put his ear against it and 

listened" 62 

"My hands shook, and I was making a bad job of it" 94 

"Your eyes is lookin' at this very moment on the pore dis- 
appeared Dauphin, Looy the Seventeen" 158 

"Then for three minutes, or maybe four, I never see two men leak 

the way they done" 190 

"Miss Mary Jane, you cant abear to see people in trouble, and 

I can't most always. Tell me about it" 254 

"There warn't no harm in them; but that never made no differ- 
ence to Aunt Sally; she despised snakes, be the breed what 
they might" 280 



J.OM SAWYER and Huckleberry Finn were born in the same town 
not Hannibal, Missouri, but Elmira, New York. Huck was four years 
younger than Tom and took much longer to grow up. Tom was indubi- 
tably the favored child. But Huck has triumphantly overcome these 
handicaps. His bare feet will go pattering down the corridors of Time 
(an edifice which must awe him considerably) as long as paper and 
printer's ink shall last. Tom Sawyer is there, too, playing an eternal 
second fiddle. For not the least remarkable facet of the coronation dia- 
mond that is Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (not THE Adventures, 
if you please) is that it is the only sequel in literary history that is a 
surpassingly greater book than the original from which it stemmed. 
This is not to belittle Tom Sawyer. There are a good many million 
Americans (I am one) who consider Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 
the greatest book^ver written in America. 

Mark Twain did not think so. We have seen how the idea of a sequel 
"by and by I shall take a boy of twelve and run him through life (in 
the first person)'* had occurred to him no later than the moment he 
finished Tom Sawyer. That was in July, 1875. 

"By and by" turned out to be almost exactly a year. There is no evi- 
dence as to the identical instant Mark embarked on Huckleberry Finn, 
but by midsummer of 1876 he was well along with the story. His zest for 
it soon flagged "I like it only tolerably well, as far as I have gone, 
and may possibly pigeonhole or burn the manuscript when it is done." 
At least he was going to have the courage and application to finish 
what he had started. 

But courage and application were a long time getting in gear. Al- 
most exactly seven years elapsed before he took up the onerous task 
again. Much had happened in the interval. He had made the European 
journey that produced A Tramp Abroad (1880) ; he had had differ- 
ences with the American Publishing Company and had given his next 


two books, The Prince and the Pauper and The Stolen White Elephant 
(both 1882), to James R. Osgood & Company of Boston. The follow- 
ing year Osgood brought out Life on the Mississippi. 

To refresh his memory of pilot days Mark went down the river again. 
The experience revived his long-hibernating interest in the Huckleberry 
Finn manuscript. Characteristically he now went to work on it in a 
veritable frenzy of industry. From his home in Hartford, late in Au- 
gust, 1883, he wrote William Dean Howells, who had wet-nursed Tom 

I have written eight or nine hundred manuscript pages in such 
a brief space of time that I mustn't name the number of days ; I 
shouldn't believe it myself, and of course couldn't expect you to. 
I used to restrict myself to four and five hours a day and five 
days in the week, but this time I have wrought from breakfast 
till 5.15 P.M. six days in the week, and once or twice I smouched 
a Sunday when the boss wasn't looking. Nothing is half so good 
as literature hooked on Sunday, on the sly. 

He does not say that he actually finished the story in this violent 
eruption of overtime; the presumption is that he did. Anyway, a few 
months later the manuscript was in the hands of Charley Webster. 

Charley Charles L. Webster was a nephew of Mark Twain by 
marriage. (Mrs. Webster was Annie Moffett, daughter of Mark's sister 
Pamela). Mark had backed Charley in an attempt to exploit the kaola- 
type process (a half-baked forerunner of the half-tone engraving). 
This little flier cost Mark around fifty thousand dollars. "Let the cob- 
bler stick to his last" was not an epigram of Mark Twain's devising. 

The kaolatype blowup was hardly Webster's fault. Webster was what 
a later age would denominate a go-getter, an exponent of the three 
P's (pep, punch, personality), the apotheosis of the Dale Carnegie 
theory born out of time. Mark got Webster a job with his new pub- 
lisher, Osgood nothing less than the subscription managership of 
Osgood's New York office, with full charge of the general agencies. 
Soon he was virtually Mark Twain's business manager, and no man 
ever needed business managing more. And almost before you could say 
bankruptcy Charley Webster was in the publishing business on his own, 
with Mark Twain putting up the money. 


The proof-sheets of Huckleberry Finn began to trickle through from 
the Webster offices. There were not many mistakes, Mark wrote How- 
ells, but what there were were of a sort to "make a man swear his teeth 
loose." Howells volunteered to handle the proofs. He was under a mild 
obligation to Mark at the moment, for Mark had been active on behalf 
of a patent grape-scissors which Howells's father had invented. One 
wonders how it happened, with Mark's passion for gadgetry, that he 
did not think up this device by himself. 

Meanwhile Mark was actively concerned in the promotion of the new 
book. When the prospectus was in process he wrote Webster : 

Keep it diligently in mind that we don't issue until we have 
made a big sale. 

Get at your canvassing early and drive it with all your might, 
with an intent and purpose of issuing on the 10th or 15th of next 
December (the best time in the year to tumble a big pile into the 
trade) ; but if we haven't 40,000 subscriptions we simply post- 
pone publication till we've got them. 

Three readily detachable units of Huckleberry Finn were serialized 
in the Century Magazine for December, 1884, and January and Feb- 
ruary, 1885. But this was not the reason why copies of the finished 
book were not ready for delivery until February. 

Actually at least some copies were ready for distribution by the end 
of November, 1884, when an appalling discovery was made. Either by 
accident or by design, the engraving of one of Kemble's illustrations 
had developed an anatomical idiosyncrasy of such a sort as is fre- 
quently encountered in casual addenda to billboard portraiture. The 
New York Herald printed this explanatory paragraph in its November 
29th issue : 

Mr. Charles L. Webster, nephew of Mark Twain, yesterday 
offered a reward of $500 for the apprehension and conviction of 
the person who so altered an engraving in "Huckleberry Finn" 
as to make it obnoxious. Mr. Webster said yesterday : "The book 
was examined before the final printing by W. D. Howells, Mr. 
Clemens, the proof-reader and myself. Nothing improper was 
discovered. On page 283 was a small illustration with the sub- 
scription 'Who do you reckon it is?' By the punch of an awl or 


graver, the illustration became an immoral one. But 250 copies 
left the office, I believe, before the mistake was discovered. Had 
the first edition been run off our loss would have been $25,000. 
Had the mistake not been discovered, Mr. Clemens' credit for 
decency and morality would have been destroyed." 

Just how "Mr. Clemens' credit for decency and morality" was put in 
such grave jeopardy by the defect is not altogether clear is Sir 
Joshua Reynolds's reputation compromised whenever an urchin affixes 
a pair of moustaches and a Van Dyke beard to the print of one of Rey- 
nolds's portraits of Dr. Samuel Johnson? 

Copies of the book, units in the offending 250, which were already in 
canvassers' hands were recalled, immediately and successfully. No mat- 
ter how eager a canvasser may have been to hold out one copy, the 
home office had an accurate count on every representative, and a short- 
age would have meant instant discharge. New leaves had to be tipped 
in before the books could go out again. No such disaster overtook the 
London edition, which appeared December 10, 1884, three days before 
the Library of Congress copies of the American edition were received 
nothing like the interval which separated the transoceanic editions of 
Tom Sawyer. 

Like Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn was available in cloth and in 
several more elaborate and expensive bindings. Unlike Tom Sawyer, the 
cloth-bound Hucks were available in either green or blue the sub- 
scriber took his choice. Copies in blue cloth are far rarer today because 
in 1884 and 1885 most subscribers preferred green Irving S. Under- 
bill, friend of Mark Twain and assiduous collector of his first editions, 
discovered a prospectus in which eighty-six orders were listed, fifty-six 
for green cloth copies and thirty for leather. A note in every prospec- 
tus said that green cloth copies would be sent unless otherwise ordered. 
The blue was presumably a concession to owners of Tom Sawyers, who 
might want an identically accoutred Tom-Huck set. The genuine rarity 
of blue-cloth Hucks has given such copies a reclame (and hence a dol- 
lars-and-cents value) far exceeding that of the green. But the blues are 
no firster than the greens. 

Mark Twain, we have seen, was singularly inattentive to Huckle- 
berry Finn during his long period of gestation. While the parent was 


not altogether indifferent to the delivered child, he did not lavish on it 
the affection generally bestowed by an author on a masterpiece. But 
Mark had a most valid reason for this attitude. He was not only author 
but co-publisher of Huck, and a publisher cannot live by one book alone 
the statement is arguable, but let it pass. Seeking new worlds to con- 
quer, Mark learned that General Ulysses Simpson Grant was project- 
ing his memoirs. After protracted negotiations Mark secured the con- 
tract ; the book was published, as the world knows, after Grant's death, 
and on February 27, 1886, Charles L. Webster & Co. handed his widow 
a check for two-hundred thousand dollars to this date the largest 
single royalty check ever paid. Huck Finn did pretty well for all con- 
cerned, but for every dollar he brought into the Webster coffers Grant's 
memoirs brought three. 

Eight years later the house of Charles L. Webster & Co. lay in ruins. 
It was a terrible anticlimax to one of the most auspicious beginnings in 
publishing history. But the souls of General Grant and Huckleberry 
Finn go marching on. 


PERSONS attempting to find a motive in this narra- 
tive will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a 
moral in it will be banished; persons attempting tc 
find a plot in it will be shot. 

Per G. G., Chief of Ordnance. 


IN THIS book a number of dialects are used, to wit: 
the Missouri negro dialect; the extremest form of 
the backwoods Southwestern dialect; the ordinary 
(( Pike County" dialect; and four modified varieties 
of this last. The shadings liave not been done in a 
hapJiazard fashion, or by guesswork; but painstak- 
ingly, and with the trustworthy guidance and sup- 
port of personal familiarity with these several forms 
of speech. 

I make this explanation for the reason that with- 
out it many readers would suppose that all these 
characters were trying to talk alike and not sue- 





OU don't know about me without you have read a book by 
the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no 
matter. That book was made by Mr. Mark Twain, and he told 
the truth, mainly. There was things which he stretched, but 
mainly he told the truth. That is nothing. I never seen anybody 
but lied one time or another, without it was Aunt Polly, or the 
widow, or maybe Mary. Aunt Polly Tom's Aunt Polly, she 
is and Mary, and the Widow Douglas is all told about in that 
book, which is mostly a true book, with some stretchers, as I 
said before. 

Now the way that the book winds up is this: Tom and me 
found the money that the robbers hid in the cave, and it made 
us rich. We got six thousand dollars apiece all gold. It was an 
awful sight of money when it was piled up. Well, Judge 
Thatcher he took it and put it out at interest, and it fetched us 
a dollar a day apiece all the year round more than a body 



could tell what to do with. The Widow Douglas she took me 
for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me ; but it was rough 
living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular 
and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I 
couldn't stand it no longer I lit out. I got into my old rags and 
my sugar-hogshead again, and was free and satisfied. But Tom 
Sawyer he hunted me up and said he was going to start a band 
of robbers, and I might join if I would go back to the widow 
and be respectable. So I went back. 

The widow she cried over me, and called me a poor lost lamb, 
and she called me a lot of other names, too, but she never meant 
no harm by it. She put me in them new clothes again, and I 
couldn't do nothing but sweat and sweat, and felt all cramped 
up. Well, then, the old thing commenced again. The widow 
rung a bell for supper, and you had to come to time. When you 
got to the table you couldn't go right to eating, but you had to 
wait for the widow to tuck down her head and grumble a little 
over the victuals, though there warn't really anything the mat- 
ter with them that is, nothing only everything was cooked by 
Hself. In a barrel of odds and ends it is different; things get 
mixed up, and the juice kind of swaps around, and the things 
go better. 

After supper she got out her book and learned me about 
Moses and the Bulrushers, and I was in a sweat to find out all 
about him; but by and by she let it out that Moses had been 
dead a considerable long time; so then I didn't care no more 
about him, because I don't take no stock in dead people. 

Pretty soon I wanted to smoke, and asked the widow to let 
me. But she wouldn't. She said it was a mean practice and 
wasn't clean, and I must try to not do it any more. That is just 
the way with some people. They get down on a thine? when they 
don't know nothing about it. Here she was a-bothering about 
Moses, which was nb kin to her, and no use to anybody, being 
gone, you see, yet finding a power of fault with me for doing 


a thing that had some good in it. And she took snuff, too; of 
course that was all right, because she done it herself. 

Her sister, Miss Watson, a tolerable slim old maid, with 
goggles on, had just come to live with her, and took a set at me 
now with a spelling book. She worked me middling hard for 
about an hour, and then the widow made her ease up. I couldn't 
stood it much longer. Then for an hour it was deadly dull, and 
I was fidgety. Miss Watson would say, "Don't put your feet 
up there, Huckleberry"; and "Don't scrunch up like that, 
Huckleberry set up straight" ; and pretty soon she would say, 
"Don't gap and stretch like that, Huckleberry why don't you 
try to behave?" Then she told me all about the bad place, and 
I said I wished I was there. She got mad then, but I didn't 
mean no harm. All I wanted was to go somewheres; all I 
wanted was a change, I warn't particular. She said it was 
wicked to say what I said ; said she wouldn't say it for the whole 
world ; she was going to live so as to go to the good place. Well, 
I couldn't see no advantage in going where she was going, so 
I made up my mind I wouldn't try for it. But I never said so, 
because it would only make trouble, and wouldn't do no good. 

Now she had got a start, and she went on and told me all 
about the good place. She said all a body would have to do there 
was to go around all day long with a harp and sing, forever 
and ever. So I didn't think much of it. But I never said so. I 
asked her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and she 
said not by a considerable sight. I was glad about that, because 
I wanted him and me to be together. 

Miss Watson she kept pecking at me, and it got tiresome 
and lonesome. By and by they fetched the niggers in and had 
prayers, and then everybody was off to bed. I went up to my 
room with a piece of candle, and put it on the table. Then I set 
down in a chair by the window and tried to think of something 
cheerful, but it warn't no use. I felt so lonesome I most wished 
I was dead. The stars were shining, and the leaves rustled in 


the woods ever so mournful ; and I heard an owl, away off, who- 
whooing about somebody that was dead, and a whippowill and 
a dog crying about somebody that was going to die; and the 
wind was trying to whisper something to me, and I couldn't 
make out what it was, and so it made the cold shivers run over 
me. Then away out in the woods I heard that kind of a sound 
that a ghost makes when it wants to tell about something that's 
on its mind and can't make itself understood, and so can't rest 
easy in its grave, and has to go about that way every night 
grieving. I got so downhearted and scared I did wish I had 
some company. Pretty soon a spider went 'crawling up my 
shoulder, and I flipped it off and it lit in the candle ; and before 
I could budge it was all shriveled up. I didn't need anybody to 
tell me that that was an awful bad sign and would fetch me 
some bad luck, so I was scared and most shook the clothes off of 
me. I got up and turned around in my tracks three times and 
crossed my breast every time ; and then I tied up a little lock 
of my hair with a thread to keep witches away. But I hadn't no 
confidence. You do that when you've lost a horseshoe that 
you've found, instead of nailing it up over the door, but I 
hadn't ever heard anybody say it was any way to keep off bad 
luck when you'd killed a spider. 

I set down again, a-shaking all over, and got out my pipe 
for a smoke; for the house was all as still as death now, and so 
the widow wouldn't know. Well, after a long time I heard the 
clock away off in the town go boom boom boom twelve 
licks ; and all still again stiller than ever. Pretty soon I heard 
a twig snap down in the dark amongst the trees something 
was a-stirring. I set still and listened. Directly I could just 
barely hear a "me-yow! me-yow!" down there. That was goodl 
Says I, ff me-yow! me-yowt" as soft as I could, and then I put 
out the light and scrambled out of the window on to the shed. 
Then I slipped down to the ground and crawled in among the 
trees, and, sure enough, there was Tom Sawyer waiting for me. 


E WENT tiptoeing along a path amongst the trees 
back toward the end of the widow's garden, stooping down so 
as the branches wouldn't scrape our heads. When we was pass- 
ing by the kitchen I fell over a root and made a noise. We 
scrouched down and laid still. Miss Watson's big nigger, named 
Jim, was setting in the kitchen door; we could see him pretty 
clear, because there was a light behind him. He got up and 
stretched his neck out about a minute, listening. Then he says : 

"Who dah?" 

He listened some more; then he came tiptoeing down and 
stood right between us; we could 'a' touched him, nearly. Well, 
likely it was minutes and minutes that there warn't a sound, 
and we all there so close together. There was a place on my 
ankle that got to itching, but I dasn't scratch it ; and then my 
ear begun to itch ; and next my back, right between my shoul- 
ders. Seemed like I'd die if I couldn't scratch. Well, I've 
noticed that thing plenty times since. If you are with the qual- 
ity, or at a funeral, or trying to go to sleep when you ain't 
sleepy if you are anywheres where it won't do for you to 
scratch, why you will itch all over in upward of a thousand 
places. Pretty soon Jim says : 

"Say, who is you? Whar is you? Dog my cats ef I didn't hear 
sumf'n. Well, I know what I's gwyne to do: I's gwyne to set 
down here and listen tell I hears it ag'in." 



So he set down on the ground betwixt me and Tom. He 
leaned his back up against a tree, and stretched his legs out till 
one of them most touched one of mine. My nose begun to itch. 
It itched till the tears come into my eyes. But I dasn't scratch. 
Then it begun to itch on the inside. Next I got to itching under- 
neath. I didn't know how I was going to set still. The miser- 
ableness went on as much as six or seven minutes ; but it seemed 
a sight longer than that. I was itching in eleven different places 
now. I reckoned I couldn't stand it more'n a minute longer, but 
I set my teeth hard and got ready to try. Just then Jim begun 
to breathe heavy; next he begun to snore and then I was 
pretty soon comfortable again. 

Tom he made a sign to me kind of a little noise with his 
mouth and we went creeping away on our hands arid knees. 
When we was ten foot off Tom whispered to me, and wanted 
to tie Jim to the tree for fun. But I said no ; he might wake and 
make a disturbance, and then they'd find out I warn't in. Then 
Tom said he hadn't got candles enough, and he would slip in 
the kitchen and get some more. I didn't want him to try. I said 
Jim might wake up and come. But Tom wanted to resk it ; so 
we slid in there and. got three candles, and Tom laid five cents 
on the table for pay. Then we got out, and I was in a sweat to 
get away; but nothing would do Tom but he must crawl to 
where Jim was, on his hands and knees, and play something on 
him. I waited, and it seemed a good while, everything was so 
still and lonesome. 

As soon as Tom was back we cut along the path, around the 
garden fence, and by and by fetched up on the steep top of the 
hill the other side of the house. Tom said he slipped Jim's hat 
off of his head and hung it on a limb right over him, and Jim 
stirred a little, but he didn't wake. Afterward Jim said the 
witches bewitched him and put him in a trance, and rode him 
all over the state, and then set him under the trees again, and 
hung his hat on a limb to show who done it. And next time Jim 


told it he said they rode him down to New Orleans ; and, after 
that, every time he told it he spread it more and more, till by 
and by he said they rode him all over the world, and tired him 
most to death, and his back was all over saddle-boils. Jim was 
monstrous proud about it, and he got so he wouldn't hardly 
notice the other niggers. Niggers would come miles to hear Jim 
tell about it, and he was more looked up to than any nigger in 
that country. Strange niggers would stand with their mouths 
open and look him all over, same as if he was a wonder. Niggers 
is always talking about witches in the dark by the kitchen fire ; 
but whenever one was talking and letting on to know all about 
such things, Jim would happen in and say, "Hm! What you 
know 'bout witches?" and that nigger was corked up and had 
to take a back seat. Jim always kept that five-center piece 
round his neck with a string, and said it was a charm the devil 
give to him with his own hands, and told him he could cure any- 
body with it and fetch witches whenever he wanted to just by 
saying something to it ; but he never told what it was he said to 
it. Niggers would come from all around there and give Jim 
anything they had, just for a sight of that five-center piece; 
but they wouldn't touch it, because the devil had had his hands 
on it. Jim was most ruined for a servant, because he got stuck 
up on account of having seen the devil and been rode by 

Well, when Tom and me got to the edge of the hilltop we 
looked away down into the village and could see three or four 
lights twinkling, where there was sick folks, maybe; and the 
stars over us was sparkling ever so fine; and down by the vil- 
lage was the river, a whole mile broad, and awful still and 
grand. We went down the hill and found Joe Harper and Ben 
Rogers, and two or three more of the boys, hid in the old tan- 
yard. So we unhitched a skiff and pulled down the river two 
mile and a half, to the big scar on the hillside, and went ashore. 

We went to a clump of bushes, and Tom made everybody 


swear to keep the secret, and then showed them a hole in the 
hill, right in the thickest part of the bushes. Then we lit the 
candles, and crawled in on our hands and knees. We went about 
two hundred yards, and then the cave opened up. Tom poked 
about amongst the passages, and pretty soon ducked under a 
wall where you wouldn't 'a' noticed that there was a hole. We 
went along a narrow place and got into a kind of room, all 
damp and sweaty and cold, and there we stopped: Tom says: 

"Now, we'll start this band of robbers and call it Tom Saw- 
yer's Gang. Everybody that wants to join has got to take an 
oath, and write his name in blood." 

Everybody was willing. So Tom got out a sheet of paper 
that he had wrote the oath on, and read it. It swore every boy 
to stick to the band, and never tell any of the secrets; and if 
anybody done anything to any boy in the band, whichever boy 
was ordered to kill that person and his family" must do it, and 
he mustn't eat and he mustn't sleep till he had killed them and 
hacked a cross in their breasts, which was the sign of the band. 
And nobody that didn't belong to the band could use that mark, 
and if he did he must be sued ; and if he done it again he must be 
killed. And if anybody that belonged to the band told the se- 
crets, he must have his throat cut, and then have his carcass 
burnt up and the ashes scattered all around, and his name blot- 
ted off the list with blood and never mentioned again by the 
gang, but have a curse put on it and be forgot forever. 

Everybody said it was a real beautiful oath, and asked Tom 
if he got it out of his own head. He said some of it, but the rest 
was out of pirate-books and robber-books, and every gang that 
was high-toned had it. 

Some thought it would be good to kill the families of boys 
that told the secrets. Tom said it was a good idea, so he took a 
pencil and wrote it in. Then Ben Rogers says : 

"Here's Huck Finn, he hain't got no family; what you going 
to do 'bout him?" 


"Well, hain't he got a father?" says Tom Sawyer. 

"Yes, he's got a father, but you can't never find him 
these days. He used to lay drunk with the hogs in the tan- 
yard, but he hain't been seen in these parts for a year or 

They talked it over, and they was going to rule me out, be- 
cause they said every boy must have a family or somebody to 
kill, or else it wouldn't be fair and square for the others. Well, 
nobody could think of anything to do everybody was stumped, 
and set still. I was most ready to cry ; but all at once I thought 
of a way, and so I offered them Miss Watson they could kill 
her. Everybody said: 

"Oh, she'll do. That's all right. Huck can come in." 

Then they all stuck a pin in their fingers to get blood to sign 
with, and I made my mark on the paper. 

"Now," says Ben Rogers, "what's the line of business of 
this Gang?" 

"Nothing only robbery and murder," Tom said. 

"But who are we going to rob? houses, or cattle, or " 

"Stuff! stealing cattle and such things ain't robbery; it's 
burglary," says Tom Sawyer. "We ain't burglars. That ain't 
no sort of style. We are highwaymen. We stop stages and car- 
riages on the road, with masks on, and kill the people and take 
their watches and money." 

"Must we always kill the people?" 

"Oh, certainly. It's best. Some authorities think different, 
but mostly it's considered best to kill them except some that 
you bring to the cave here, and keep them till they're ran- 

"Ransomed? What's that?" 

"I don't know. But that's what they do. I've seen it in books; 
and so of course that's what we've got to do." 

"But how can we do it if we don't know what it is?" 

"Why, blame it all, we've got to do it. Don't I tell you it's in 


the books? Do you want to go to doing different from what's 
in the books, and get things all muddled up?" 

"Oh, that's all very fine to say, Tom Sawyer, but how in the 
nation are these fellows going ransomed if we don't know 
how to do it to them? that's the thing I want to get at. Now, 
what do you reckon it is?" 

"Well, I don't know. But per'aps if we keep them till they're 
ransomed, it means that we keep them till they're dead." 

"Now, that's something like. That'll answer. Why couldn't 
you said that before? We'll keep them till they're ransomed to 
death; and a bothersome lot they'll be, too eating up every- 
thing, and always trying to get loose." 

"How you talk, Ben Rogers. How can they get loose when 
there's a guard over them, ready to shoot them down if they 
move a peg?" 

"A guard! Well, that is good. So somebody's got to set up all 
night and never get any sleep, just so as to watch them. I think 
that's foolishness. Why can't a body take a club and ransom 
them as soon as they get here?" 

"Because it ain't in the books so that's why. Now, Ben 
Rogers, do you want to do things regular, or don't you? that's 
the idea. Don't you reckon that the people that made the books 
knows what's the correct thing to do? Do you reckon you can 
learn 'em anything? Not by a good deal. No, sir, we'll just go 
on and ransom them in the regular way." 

"All right. I don't mind; but I say it's a fool way, anyhow. 
Say, do we kill the women, too?" 

"Well, Ben Rogers, if I was as ignorant as you I wouldn't 
let on. Kill the women? No; nobody ever saw anything in the 
books like that. You fetch them to the cave, and you're always 
as polite as pie to them; and by and by they fall in love with 
you, and never want to go home any more." 

"Well, if that's the way I'm agreed, but I don't take no stock 
in it. Mighty soon we'll have the cave so cluttered up with 


women, and fellows waiting to be ransomed, that there won't 
be no place for the robbers. But go ahead, I ain't got nothing 
to say." 

Little Tommy Barnes was asleep now, and when they waked 
him up he was scared, and cried, and said he wanted to go home 
to his ma, and didn't want to be a robber any more. 

So they all made fun of him, and called him cry-baby, and 
that made him mad, and he said he would go straight and tell 
all the secrets. But Tom give him five cents to keep quiet, and 
said we would all go home and meet next week, and rob some- 
body and kill some people. 

Ben Rogers said he couldn't get out much, only Sundays, 
and so he wanted to begin next Sunday; but all the boys said 
it would be wicked to do it on Sunday, and that settled the 
thing. They agreed to get together and fix a day as soon as they 
could, and then we elected Tom Sawyer first captain and Joe 
Harper second captain of the Gang, and so started home. 

I clumb up the shed and crept into my window just before 
day was breaking. My new clothes was all greased up and 
clayey, and I was dog-tired. 


WELL, I got a good going-over in the morning from 
old Miss Watson on account of my clothes ; but the widow she 
didn't scold, but only cleaned off the grease and clay, and 
looked so sorry that I thought I would behave awhile if I could. 
Then Miss Watson she took me in the closet and prayed, but 
nothing come of it. She told me to pray every day, and what- 
ever I asked for I would get it. But it warn't so. I tried it. Once 
I got a fish-line, but no hooks. It warn't any good to me with- 
out hooks. I tried for the hooks three or four times, but some- 
how I couldn't make it work. By and by, one day, I asked Miss 
Watson to try for me, but she said I was a fool. She never told 
me why, and I couldn't make it out no way. 

I set down one time back in the woods, and had a long think 
about it. I says to myself, if a body can get anything they pray 
for why don't Deacon Winn get back the money he lost on 
pork? Why can't the widow get back her silver snuff-box that 
was stole? Why can't Miss Watson fat up? No, says I to my- 
self, there ain't nothing in it. I went and told the widow about 
it, and she said the thing a body could get by praying for it was 
"spiritual gifts." This was too many for me, but she told me 
what she meant I must help other people, and do everything 



I could for other people, and look out for them all the time, 
and never think about myself. This was including Miss Watson, 
as I took it. I went out in the woods and turned it over in my 
mind a long time, but I couldn't see no advantage about it 
except for the other people; so at last I reckoned I wouldn't 
worry about it any more, but just let it go. Sometimes the 
widow would take me one side and talk about Providence in a 
way to make a body's mouth water; but maybe next day Miss 
Watson would take hold and knock it all down again. I judged 
I could see that there was two Providences, and a poor chap 
would stand considerable show with the widow's Providence, 
but if Miss Watson's got him there warn't no help for him any 
more. I thought it all out, and reckoned I would belong to the 
widow's if he wanted me, though I couldn't make out how he 
was a-going to be any better off then than what he was before, 
seeing I was so ignorant, and so kind of low-down and ornery. 
Pap he hadn't been seen for more than a year, and that was 
comfortable for me ; I didn't want to see him no more. He used 
to always whale me when he was sober and could get his hands 
on me; though I used to take to the woods most of the time 
when he was around. Well, about this time he was found in the 
river drownded, about twelve mile above town, so people said. 
They judged it was him, anyway; said this drownded man was 
just his size, and was ragged, and had uncommon long hair, 
which was all like pap ; but they couldn't make nothing out of 
the face, because it had been in the water so long it warn't much 
like a face at all. They said he was floating on his back in the 
water. They took him and buried him on the bank. But I warn't 
comfortable long, because I happened to think of something. 
I knowed mighty well that a drowned man don't float on his 
back, but on his face. So I knowed, then, that this warn't pap, 
but a woman dressed up in a man's clothes. So I was uncomfort- 
able again. I judged the old man would turn up again by and 
by, though I wished he wouldn't. 


We playev* awJber now and then about a month, and then I 
resigned. All the boys did. We hadn't robbed nobody, hadn't 
killed any people, but only just pretended. We used to hop out 
of the woods and go charging down on hog-drivers and women 
in carts taking garden stuff to market, but we never hived any 
of them. Tom Sawyer called the hogs "ingots," and he called 
the turnips and stuff "julery," and we would go to the cave 
and powwow over what we had done, and how many people 
we had killed and marked. But I couldn't see no profit in it. 
One time Tom sent a boy to run about town with a blazing 
stick, which he called a slogan (which was the sign for the Gang 
to get together) , and then he said he had got secret news by his 
spies that next day a whole parcel of Spanish merchants and 
rich A-rabs was going to camp in Cave Hollow with two hun- 
dred elephants, and six hundred camels, and over a thousand 
"sumter" mules, all loaded down with di'monds/and they didn't 
have only a guard of four hundred soldiers, and so we would 
lay in ambuscade, as he called it, and kill the lot and scoop the 
things. He said we must slick up our swords and guns, and get 
ready. He never could go after even a turnip-cart but he must 
have the swords and guns all scoured up for it, though they 
was only lath and broomsticks, and you might scour at them 
till you rotted, and then they warn't worth a mouthful of ashes 
more than what they was before. I didn't believe we could lick 
such a crowd of Spaniards and A-rabs, but I wanted to see the 
camels and elephants, so I was on hand next day, Saturday, 
in the ambuscade ; and when we got the word we rushed out of 
the woods and down the hill. But there warn't no Spaniards and 
A-rabs, and there warn't no camels nor no elephants. It warn't 
anything but a Sunday-school picnic, and only a primer class 
at that. We busted it up, and chased the children up the hollow; 
but we never got anything Jbut some doughnuts and jam, though 
Ben Rogers got a rag doll, and Joe Harper got a hymn-book 
and a tract; and then the teacher charged in, and made us drop 


everything and cut. I didn't see no di'monds, and I told Tom 
Sawyer so. He said there was loads of them there, anyway; and 
he said there was A-rabs there, too, and elephants and things. 
I said, why couldn't we see them, then? He said if I warn't so 
ignorant, but had read a book called Don Quixote, I would 
know without asking. He said it was all done by enchantment. 
He said there was hundreds of soldiers there, and elephants 
and treasure, and so on, but we had enemies which he called 
magicians, and they had turned the whole thing into an infant 
Sunday-school, just out of spite. I said, all right; then the 
thing for us to do was to go for the magicians. Tom Sawyer 
said I was a numskull. 

"Why," said he, "a magician could call up a lot of genies, 
and they would hash you up like nothing before you could say 
Jack Robinson. They are as tall as a tree and as big round as a 

"Well," I says, "s'pose we got some genies to help us can't 
we lick the other crowd then?" 

"How you going to get them?" 

"I don't know. How do they get them?" 

"Why, they rub an old tin lamp or an iron ring, and then 
the genies come tearing in, with the thunder and lightning 
a-ripping around and the smoke a-rolling, and everything they're 
told to do they up and do it. They don't think nothing of pull- 
ing a shot-tower up by the roots, and belting a Sunday-school 
superintendent over the head with it or any other man." 

"Who makes them tear around so?" 

"Why, whoever rubs the lamp or the ring. They belong to 
whoever rubs the lamp or the ring, and they've got to do what- 
ever he says. If he tells them to build a palace forty miles long 
out of di'monds, and fill it full of chewing-gum, or whatever 
you want, and fetch an emperor's daughter from China for 
you to marry, they've got to do it and they've got to do it 
before sun-up next morning, too. And more: they've got to 


waltz that palace around over the country wherever you want 
it, you understand." 

"Well," says I, "I think they are a pack of flatheads for not 
keeping the palace themselves 'stead of fooling them away like 
that. And what's more if I was one of them I would see a man 
in Jericho before I would drop my business and come to him 
for the rubbing of an old tin lamp." 

"How you talk, Huck Finn. Why, you'd have to come when 
he rubbed it, whether you wanted to or not." 

"What! and I as high as a tree and as big as a church? All 
right, then; I would come; but I lay I'd make that man climb 
the highest tree there was in the country." 

"Shucks, it ain't no use to talk to you, Huck Finn. You don't 
seem to know anything, somehow perfect saphead." 

I thought all this over for two or three days, and then I 
reckoned I would see if there was anything in it. I got an old 
tin lamp and an iron ring, and went out in the woods and rubbed 
and rubbed till I sweat like an Injun, calculating to build a 
palace and sell it ; but it warn't no use, none of the genies come. 
f5o then I judged that all that stuff was only just one of Tom 
Sawyer's lies. I reckoned he believed in the A-rabs and the ele- 
phants, but as for me I think different. It had all the marks 
af a Sunday-school. 

[SEE PAGE 24] 

"Then Miss Watson took me in the closet and 
prayed but nothing come of it." 



rELL, three or four months run along, and it was well into 
the winter now. I had been to school most all the time and 
could spell and read and write just a little, and could say the 
multiplication table up to six times seven is thirty-five, and I 
don't reckon I could ever get any further than that if I was to 
live forever. I don't take no stock in mathematics, anyway. 

At first I hated the school, but by and by I got so I could 
stand it. Whenever I got uncommon tired I played hookey, and 
the hiding I got next day done me good and cheered me up. So 
the longer I went to school the easier it got to be. I was getting 
sort of used to the widow's ways, too, and they warn't so raspy 
on me. Living in a house and sleeping in a bed pulled on me 
pretty tight mostly, but before the cold weather I used to slide 
out and sleep in the woods sometimes, and so that was a rest to 
me. I liked the old ways best, but I was getting so I liked the 
new ones, too, a little bit. The widow said I was coming along 
slow but sure, and doing very satisfactory. She said she warn't 
ashamed of me. 

One morning I happened to turn over the salt-cellar at 
breakfast. I reached for some of it as quick as I could to throw 
over my left shoulder and keep off the bad luck, but Miss Wat- 
son was in ahead of me, and crossed me off. She says, "Take 
your hands away, Huckleberry; what a mess you are always 
making!" The widow put in a good word for me, but that 
warn't going to keep off the bad luck, I knowed that well 



enough. I started out, after breakfast, feeling worried and 
shaky, and wondering where it was going to fall on me, and 
what it was going to be. There is ways to keep off some kinds 
of bad luck, but this wasn't one of them kind; so I never tried 
to do anything, but just poked along low-spirited and on the 

I went down to the front garden and clumb over the stile 
where you go through the high board fence. There was an inch 
of new snow on the ground, and I seen somebody's tracks. 
They had come up from the quarry and stood around the stile 
awhile, and then went on around the garden fence. It was 
funny they hadn't come in, after standing around so. I couldn't 
make it out. It was very curious, somehow. I was going to fol- 
low around, but I stooped down to look at the tracks first. I 
didn't notice anything at first, but next I did. There was a cross 
in the left boot-heel made with big nails, to keep off the devil. 

I was up in a second and shinning down the hill. I looked 
over my shoulder every now and then, but I didn't see nobody. 
I was at Judge Thatcher's as quick as I could get there. He 

"Why, my boy, you are all out of breath. Did you come for 
your interest?" 

"No, sir," I says; "is there some for me?" 

"Oh, yes, a half-yearly is in last night over a hundred and 
fifty dollars. Quite a fortune for you. You had better let me 
invest it along with your six thousand, because if you take it 
you'll spend it." 

"No, sir," I says, "I don't want to spend it. I don't want it at 
all nor the six thousand, nuther. I want you to take it ; I want 
to give it to you the six thousand and all." 

He looked surprised. He couldn't seem to make it out. He 

"Why, what can you mean, my boy?" 


I says, "Don't you ask me no questions about it, please. 
You'll take it won't you?" 

He says : 

"Well, I'm puzzled. Is something the matter?" 

"Please take it," says I, "and don't ask me nothing then I 
won't have to tell no lies." 

He studied awhile, and then he says : 

"Oh-o! I think I see. You want to sell all your property to 
me not give it. That's the correct idea." 

Then he wrote something on a paper and read it over, and 
says : 

"There; you see it says 'for a consideration.' That means I 
have bought it of you and paid you for it. Here's a dollar for 
you. Now you sign it." 

So I signed it, and left. 

Miss Watson's nigger, Jim, had a hair-ball as big as your 
fist, which had been took out of the fourth stomach of an ox, 
and he used to do magic with it. He said there was a spirit in- 
side of it, and it knowed everything. So I went to him that night 
and told him pap was here again, for I found his tracks in the 
snow. What I wanted to know was, what he was going to do, 
and was he going to stay? Jim got out his hair-ball and said 
something over it, and then he held it up and dropped it on the 
floor. It fell pretty solid, and only rolled about an inch. Jim 
tried it again, and then another time, and it acted just the same. 
Jim got down on his knees, and put his ear against it and lis- 
tened. But it warn't no use ; he said it wouldn't talk. He said 
sometimes it wouldn't talk without money. I told him I had an 
old slick counterfeit quarter that warn't no good because the 
brass showed through the silver a little, and it wouldn't pass 
nohow, even if the brass didn't show, because it was so slick it 
felt greasy, and so that would tell on it every time. (I reckoned 
I wouldn't say nothing about the dollar I got from the judge.) 


I said it was pretty bad money, but maybe the hair-ball would 
take it, because it wouldn't know the difference. Jim smelt it 
and bit it and rubbed it, and said he would manage so the hair- 
ball would think it was good. He said he would split open a raw 
Irish potato and stick the quarter in between and keep it there 
all night, and next morning you couldn't see no brass, and it 
wouldn't feel greasy no more, and so anybody in town would 
take it in a minute, let alone a hair-ball. Well, I knowed a 
potato would do that before, but I had forgot it. 

Jim put the quarter under the hair-ball, and got down and 
listened again. This time he said the hair-ball was all right. Hte 
said it would tell my whole fortune if I wanted it to. I says, 
go on. So the hair-ball talked to Jim, and Jim told it to me, 
He says : 

"Yo' ole father doan' know yit what he's a-gwyne to do. 
Sometimes he spec he'll go 'way, en den ag'in he spec he'll stay. 
De bes' way is to res' easy en let de ole man take his own way. 
Dey's two angels hoverin' roun' 'bout him. One uv 'em is white 
en shiny, en t'other one is black. De white one gits him to go 
right a little while, den de black one sails in en bust it all up. 
A body can't tell yit which one gwyne to fetch him at de las'. 
But you is all right. You gwyne to have considable trouble in 
yo' life, en considable joy. Sometimes you gwyne to git hurt, en 
sometimes you gwyne to git sick ; but every time you's gwyne 
to git well ag'in. Dey's two gals flyin' 'bout you in yo' life. One 
uv 'em's light en t'other one is dark. One is rich en t'other is 
po'. You's gwyne to marry de po' one fust en de rich one by en 
by. You wants to keep 'way fum de water as much as you kin, 
en don't run no resk, 'kase it's down in de bills dat you's gwyne 
to git hung." 

When I lit my candle and went up to my room that night 
there sat pap his own self! 



HAD shut the door to. Then I turned around, and there 
he was. I used to be scared of him all the time, he tanned me so 
much. I reckoned I was scared now, too ; but in a minute I see 
I was mistaken that is, after the first jolt, as you may say, 
when my breath sort of hitched, he being so unexpected; but 
right away after I see I warn't scared of him worth bothring 

He was most fifty, and he looked it. His hair was long and 
tangled and greasy, and hung down, and you could see his eyes 
shining through like he was behind vines. It was all black, no 
gray; so was his long, mixed-up whiskers. There warn't no color 
in his face, where his face showed ; it was white ; not like another 
man's white, but a white to make a body sick, a white to make a 
body's flesh crawl a tree-toad white, a fish-belly white. As for 
his clothes just rags, that was all. He had one ankle resting 
on t'other knee ; the boot on that foot was busted, and two of his 
toes stuck through, and he worked them now and then. His hat 
was laying on the floor an old black slouch with the top caved 
in, like a lid. 



I stood a-looking at him; he set there a-looking at me, with 
his chair tilted back a little. I set the candle down. I noticed the 
window was up ; so he had dumb in by the shed. He kept a-look- 
ing me all over. By and by he says : 

"Starchy clothes very. You think you're a good deal of a 
big-bug, don't you?" 

"Maybe I am, maybe I ain't," I says. 

"Don't you give me none o' your lip," says he. "You've put 
on considerable many frills since I been away. I'll take you 
down a peg before I get done with you. You're educated, too, 
they say can read and write. You think you're better'n your 
father, now, don't you, because he can't? Til take it out of you. 
Who told you you might meddle with such hif alut'n foolishness, 
hey? who told you you could?" 
"The widow. She told me." 

"The widow, hey? and who told the widow she could put in 
her shovel about a thing that ain't none of her business?" 
"Nobody never told her." 

"Well, I'll learn her how to meddle. And looky here you 
drop that school, you hear? I'll learn people to bring up a boy 
to put on airs over his own father and let on to be better'n what 
he is. You lemme catch you fooling around that school again, 
you hear? Your mother couldn't read, and she couldn't write, 
nuther, before she died. None of the family couldn't before they 
died. I can't; and here you're a-swelling yourself up like this. 
I ain't the man to stand it you hear? Say, lemme hear you 

I took up a book and begun something about General Wash- 
ington and the wars. When I'd read about a half a minute, he 
fetched the book a whack with his hand and knocked it across 
the house. He says: 

"It's so. You can do it. I had my doubts when you told me. 
Now looky here; you stop that putting on frills. I won't have 
it. I'll lay for you, my smarty; and if I catch you about that 


school I'll tan you good. First you know you'll get religion, 
too. I never see such a son." 

He took up a little blue and yaller picture of some cows and 
a boy, and says : 

"What's this?" 

"It's something they give me for learning my lessons good." 

He tore it up, and says : 

"I'll give you something better I'll give you a cowhide." 

He set there a-mumbling and a-growling a minute, and then 
he says: 

"Ain't you a sweet-scented dandy, though? A bed; and bed- 
clothes ; and a look'n'-glass ; and a piece of carpet on the floor 
and your own father got to sleep with the hogs in the tanyard. 
I never see such a son. I bet I'll take some o' these frills out o' 
you before I'm done with you. Why, there ain't no end to your 
airs they say you're rich. Hey? how's that?" 

"They lie that's how." 

"Looky here mind how you talk to me; I'm a-standing 
about all I can stand now so don't gimme no sass. I've been 
in town two days, and I hain't heard nothing but about you 
bein' rich. I heard about it away down the river, too. That's 
why I come. You git me that money to-morrow I want it." 

"I hain't got no money." 

"It's a lie. Judge Thatcher's got it. You git it. I want it." 

"I hain't got no money, I tell you. You ask Judge Thatcher; 
he'll tell you the same." 

"All right. I'll ask him; and I'll make him pungle, too, or 
I'll know the reason why. Say, how much you got in your 
pocket? I want it." 

"I hain't got only a dollar, and I want that to " 

"It don't make no difference what you want it for you just 
shell it out." 

He took it and bit it to see if it was good, and then he said 
he was going down-town to get some whisky ; said he hadn't had 


a drink all day. When he had got out on the shed he put his head 
in again, and cussed me for putting on frills and trying to be 
better than him; and when I reckoned he was gone he come 
back and put his head in again, and told me to mind about that 
school, because he was going to lay for me and lick me if I 
didn't drop that. 

Next day he was drunk, and he went to Judge Thatcher's 
and bullyragged him, and tried to make him give up the money ; 
but he couldn't, and then he swore he'd make the law force him. 

The judge and the widow went to law to get the court to 
take me away from him and let one of them be my guardian ; 
but it was a new judge that had just come, and he didn't know 
the old man; so he said courts mustn't interfere and separate 
families if they could help it ; said he'd druther not take a child 
away from its father. So Judge Thatcher and the widow had to 
quit on the business. 

That pleased the old man till he couldn't rest. He said he'd 
cowhide me till I was black and blue if I didn't raise some 
money for him. I borrowed three dollars from Judge Thatcher, 
and pap took it and got drunk, and went a-blowing around and 
cussing and whooping and carrying on; and he kept it up all 
over town, with a tin pan, till most midnight; then they jailed 
him, and next day they had him before court, and jailed him 
again for a week. But he said he was satisfied ; said he was boss 
of his son, and he'd make it warm for him. 

When he got out the new judge said he was a-going to make 
a man of him. So he took him to his own house, and dressed him 
up clean and nice, and had him to breakfast and dinner and 
supper with the family, and was just old pie to him, so to speak. 
And after supper he talked to him about temperance and such 
things till the old man cried, and said he'd been a fool, and 
fooled away his life ; but now he was a-going to turn over a new 
leaf and be a man nobody wouldn't be ashamed of, and he hoped 
the judge would help him and not look down on him. The judge 


said he could hug him for them words ; so he cried, and his wife 
she cried again; pap said he'd been a man that had always been 
misunderstood before, and the judge said he believed it. The 
old man said that what a man wanted that was down was sym- 
pathy, and the judge said it was so; so they cried again. And 
when it was bedtime the old man rose up and held out his hand, 
and says: 

"Look at it, gentlemen and ladies all; take a-hold of it; 
shake it. There's a hand that was the hand of a hog ; but it ain't 
so no more; it's the hand of a man that's started in on a new 
life, and'll die before he'll go back. You mark them words 
don't forget I said them. It's a clean hand now; shake it don't 
be afeard." 

So they shook it, one after the other, all around, and cried. 
The judge's wife she kissed it. Then the old man he signed a 
pledge made his mark. The judge said it was the holiest time 
on record, or something like that. Then they tucked the old 
man into a beautiful room, which was the spare room, and in 
the night some time he got powerful thirsty and clumb out on to 
the porch-roof and slid down a stanchion and traded his new 
coat for a jug of forty-rod, and clumb back again and had 
a good old time; and toward daylight he crawled out again, 
drunk as a fiddler, and rolled off the porch and broke his left 
arm in two places, and was most froze to death when somebody 
found him after sun-up. And when they come to look at that 
spare room they had to take soundings before they could navi- 
gate it. 

The judge he felt kind of sore. He said he reckoned a body 
could reform the old man with a shotgun, maybe, but he didn't 
know no other way. 


ELL, pretty soon the old man was up 'and around 
again, and then he went for Judge Thatcher in the courts to 
make him give up that money, and he went for me, too, for not 
stopping school. He catched me a couple of times and thrashed 
me, but I went to school just the same, and dodged him or out- 
run him most of the time. I didn't want to go to school much 
before, but I reckoned I'd go now to spite pap. That law trial 
was a slow business appeared like they warn't ever going to 
get started on it; so every now and then I'd borrow two or three 
dollars off of the judge for him, to keep from getting a cow- 
hiding. Every time he got money he got drunk ; and every time 
he got drunk he raised Cain around town; and every time he 
raised Cain he got jailed. He was just suited this kind of 
thing was right in his line. 

He got to hanging around the widow's too much, and so she 
told him at last that if he didn't quit using around there she 
would make trouble for him. AVell, Wasn't he mad? He said he 
would show who was Huck Finn's boss. So he watched out for 
me one day in the spring, and catched me, and took me up the 



river about three mile in a skiff, and crossed over to the Illinois 
shore where it was woody and there warn't no houses but an 
old log hut in a place where the timber was so thick you couldn't 
find it if you didn't know where it was. 

He kept me with him all the time, and I never got a chance 
to run off. We lived in that old cabin, and he always locked the 
door and put the key under his head nights. He had a gun 
which he had stole, I reckon, and we fished and hunted, and 
that was what we lived on. Every little while he locked me in 
and went down to the store, three miles, to the ferry, and traded 
fish and game for whisky, and fetched it home arid got drunk 
and had a good time, and licked me. The widow she found out 
where I was by and by, and she sent a man over to try to get 
hold of me ; but pap drove him off with the gun, and it warn't 
long after that till I was used to being where I was, and liked 
it all but the cowhide part. 

It was kind of lazy and jolly, laying off comfortable all day, 
smoking and fishing, and no books nor study. Two months or 
more run along, and my clothes got to be all rags and dirt, and 
I didn't see how I'd ever got to like it so well at the widow's, 
where you had to wash, and eat on a plate, and comb up, and 
go to bed and get up regular, and be forever bothering over a 
book, and have old Miss Watson pecking at you all the time. 
I didn't want to go back no more. I had stopped cussing, be- 
cause the widow didn't like it; but now I took to it again 
because pap hadn't no objections. It was pretty good times up 
in the woods there, take it all around. 

But by and by pap got too handy with his hick'ry, and I 
couldn't stand it. I was all over welts. He got to going away 
so much, too, and locking me in. Once he locked me in and was 
gone three days. It was dreadful lonesome. I judged he had 
got drownded, and I wasn't ever going to get out any more. I 
was scared. I made up my mind I would fix up some way to 
leave there. I had tried to get out of that cabin many a time, but 


I couldn't find no way. There warr^'t a window to it big enough 
for a dog to get through. I couldn't get up the chimbly ; it was 
too narrow. The door was thick, solid oak slabs. Pap was pretty 
careful not to leave a knife or anything in the cabin when he 
was away; I reckon I had hunted the place over as much as a 
hundred times ; well, I was most all the time at it, because it was 
about the only way to put in the time. But this time I found 
something at last ; I found an old rusty wood-saw without any 
handle ; it was laid in between a rafter and the clapboards of the 
roof. I greased it up and went to work. There was an old horse- 
blanket nailed against the logs at the far end of the cabin be- 
hind the table, to keep the wind from blowing through the 
chinks and putting the candle out. I got under the table and 
raised the blanket, and went to work to saw a section of the big 
bottom log out big enough to let me through. Well, it was a 
good long job, but I was getting toward the end of it when I 
heard pap's gun in the woods. I got rid of the signs of my work, 
and dropped the blanket and hid my saw, and pretty soon pap 
come in. 

Pap warn't in a good humor so he was his natural self. He 
said he was down-town, and everything was going wrong. His 
lawyer said he reckoned he would win his lawsuit and get the 
money if they ever got started on the trial ; but then there was 
ways to put it off a long time, and Judge Thatcher knowed how 
to do it. And he said people allowed there'd be another trial to 
get me away from him and give me to the widow for my guard- 
ian, and they guessed it would win this time. This shook me 
up considerable, because I didn't want to go back to the widow's 
any more and be so cramped up and sivilized, as they called it. 
Then the old man got to cussing, and cussed everything and 
everybody he could think of, and then cussed them all over 
again to make sure he hadn't skipped any, and after that he 
polished off with a kind of a general cuss all round, including a 
considerable parcel of people which he didn't know the names 


of, and so called them what's-his-name when he got to them, 
and went right along with his cussing. 

He said he would like to see the widow get me. He said he 
would watch out, and if they tried to come any such game on 
him he knowed of a place six or seven mile off to stow me in, 
where they might hunt till they dropped and they couldn't find 
me. That made me pretty uneasy again, but only for a minute ; 
I reckoned I wouldn't stay on hand till he got that chance. 

The old man made me go to the skiff and fetch the things he 
had got. There was a fifty-pound sack of corn meal, and a side 
of bacon, ammunition, and a four-gallon jug of whisky, and an 
old book and two newspapers for wadding, besides some tow. 
I toted up a load, and went back and set down on the bow of 
the skiff to rest. I thought it all over, and I reckoned I would 
walk off with the gun and some lines, and take to the woods 
when I run away. I guessed I wouldn't stay in one place, but 
just tramp right across the country, mostly night-times, and 
hunt and fish to keep alive, and so get so far away that the old 
man nor the widow couldn't ever find me any more. I judged 
I would saw out and leave that night if pap got drunk enough, 
and I reckoned he would. I got so full of it I didn't notice how 
long I was staying till the old man hollered and asked me 
whether I was asleep or drownded. 

I got the things all up to the cabin, and then it was about 
dark. While I was cooking supper the old man took a swig or 
two and got sort of warmed up, and went to ripping again. 
He had been drunk over in town, and laid in the gutter all 
night, and he was a sight to look at. A body would 'a' thought 
he was Adam he was just all mud. Whenever his liquor begun 
to work he most always went for the govment. This time he' 
says : 

"Call this a govment I why, just look at it and see what it's 
like. Here's the law a-standing ready to take a man's son away 
from him a man's own son, which he has had all the trouble 


and all the anxiety and all the expense of raising. Yes, just as 
that man has got that son raised at last, and ready to go to 
work and begin to do suthin' for him and give him a rest, the 
law up and goes for him. And they call that govmentl That 
ain't all, nuther. The law backs that old Judge Thatcher up and 
helps him to keep me out o' my property. Here's what the law 
does: The law takes a man worth six thousand dollars and 
up'ards, and jams him into an old trap of a cabin like this, and 
lets him go round in clothes that ain't fitten for a hog. They call 
that govment! A man can't get his rights in a govment like 
this. Sometimes I've a mighty notion to just leave the country 
for good and all. Yes, and I told 'em so; I told old Thatcher so 
to his face. Lots of 'em heard me, and can tell what I said. Says 
I, for two cents I'd leave the blamed country and never come 
a-near it ag'in. Them's the very words. I says, look at my hat 
if you call it a hat but the lid raises up and the rest of it 
goes down till it's below my chin, and then it ain't rightly a hat 
at all, but more like my head was shoved up through a jint o' 
stove-pipe. Look at it, says I such a hat for me to wear one 
of the wealthiest men in this town if I could get my rights. 

4 'Oh, yes, this is a wonderful govment, wonderful. Why, 
looky here. There was a free nigger there from Ohio a mulat- 
ter, most as white as a white man. He had the whitest shirt on 
you ever see, too, and the shiniest hat ; and there ain't a man in 
that town that's got as fine clothes as what he had ; and he had 
a gold watch and chain, and a silver-headed cane the awfulest 
old gray-headed nabob in the state. And what do you think? 
They said he was a p'f essor in a college, and could talk all kinds 
of languages, and knowed everything. And that ain't the wust. 
They said he could vote when he was at home. Well, that let 
me out. Thinks I, what is the country a'coming to? It was 
'lection day, and I was just about to go and vote myself if I 
warn't too drunk to get there ; but when they told me there was 
a state in this country where they'd let that nigger vote, I 


drawed out. I says I'll never vote ag'in. Them's the very words 
I said ; they all heard me ; and the country may rot for all me 
I'll never vote ag'in as long as I live. And to see the cool way 
of that nigger why, he wouldn't 'a' give me the road if I 
hadn't shoved him out o' the way. I says to the people, why ain't 
this nigger put up at auction and sold? that's what I want to 
know. And what do you reckon they said? Why, they said he 
couldn't be sold till he'd been in the state six months, and he 
hadn't been there that long yet. There, now that's a specimen. 
They call that a govment that can't sell a free nigger till he's 
been in the state six months. Here's a govment that calls itself 
a govment, and lets on to be a govment, and thinks it is a gov- 
ment, and yet's got to set stock-still for six whole months before 
it can take a-hold of a prowling, thieving, infernal, white- 
shir ted free nigger, and " 

Pap was a-going on so he never noticed where his old limber 
legs was taking him to, so he went head over heels over the tub 
of salt pork and barked both shins, and the rest of his speech 
was all the hottest kind of language mostly hove at the nigger 
and the govment, though he give the tub some, too, all along, 
here and there. He hopped around the cabin considerable, first 
on one leg and then on the other, holding first one shin and then 
the other one, and at last he let out with his left foot all of a 
sudden and fetched the tub a rattling kick. But it warn't good 
judgment, because that was the boot that had a couple of his 
toes leaking out of the front end of it ; so now he raised a howl 
that fairly made a body's hair raise, and down he went in the 
dirt, and rolled there, and held his toes ; and the cussing he done 
then laid over anything he had ever done previous. He said so 
his own self afterwards. He had heard old Sowberry Hagan in 
his best days, and he said it laid over him, too; but I reckon 
that was sort of piling it on, maybe. 

After supper pap took the jug, and said he had enough 
whisky there for two drunks and one delirium tremens. That 


was always his word. I judged he would be blind drunk in 
about an hour, and then I would steal the key, or saw myself 
out, one or t'other. He drank and drank, and tumbled down on 
his blankets by and by ; but luck didn't run my way. He didn't 
go sound asleep, but was uneasy. He groaned and moaned and 
thrashed around this way and that for a long time. At last I 
got so sleepy I couldn't keep my eyes open all I could do, and 
so before I knowed what I was about I was sound asleep, and 
the candle burning. 

I don't know how long I was asleep, but all of a sudden 
there was an awful scream and I was up. There was pap look- 
ing wild, and skipping around every which way and yelling 
about snakes. He said they was crawling up his legs ; and then 
he would give a jump and scream, and say one had bit him on 
the cheek but I couldn't see no snakes. He started and run 
round and round the cabin, hollering "Take him t)ff ! take him 
off; he's biting me on the neck!" I never see a man look so wild 
in the eyes. Pretty soon he was all fagged out, and fell down 
panting; then he rolled over and over wonderful fast, kicking 
things every which way, and striking and grabbing at the air 
with his hands, and screaming and saying there was devils 
a-hold of him. He wore out by and by, and laid still awhile, 
moaning. Then he laid stiller, and didn't make a sound. I could 
hear the owls and the wolves away off in the woods, and it 
seemed terrible still. He was laying over by the corner. By and 
by he raised up part way and listened, with his head to one side. 
He says, very low: 

"Tramp tramp tramp; that's the dead; tramp tramp 
tramp; they're coming after me, but I won't go. Oh, they're 
here! don't touch me don't! hands off they're cold; let go. 
Oh, let a poor devil alone!" 

Then he went down on all fours and crawled off, begging 
them to let him alone, and he rolled himself up in his blanket 


and wallowed in under the old pine table, still a-begging; and 
then he went to crying. I could hear him through the blanket. 

By and by he rolled out and jumped up on his feet looking 
wild, and he see me and went for me. lie chased me round and 
round the place with a clasp-knife, calling me the Angel of 
Death, and saying he would kill me, and then I couldn't come 
for him no more. I begged, and told him I was only Huck ; but 
he laughed such a screechy laugh, and roared and cussed, and 
kept on chasing me up. Once when I turned short and dodged 
under his arm he made a grab and got me by the jacket be- 
tween my shoulders, and I thought I was gone ; but I slid out 
of the jacket quick as lightning, and saved myself. Pretty soon 
he was all tired out, and dropped down with his back against 
the door, and said he would rest a minute and then kill me. He 
put his knife under him, and said he would sleep and get strong, 
and then he would see who was who. 

So he dozed off pretty soon. By and by I got the old spit- 
bottom chair and dumb up as easy as I could, not to make any 
noise, and got down the gun. I slipped the ramrod down it to 
make sure it was loaded; and then I laid it across the turnip- 
barrel, pointing towards pap, and set down behind it to wait 
for him to stir. And how slow and still the time did drag along. 


r IT UP! What you 'bout?" 

I opened my eyes and looked around, trying to make out 
where I was. It was after sun-up, and I had been sound asleep. 
Pap was standing over me looking sour and sick, too. He says : 

"What you doin' with this gun?" 

I judged he didn't know nothing about what he had been 
doing, so I says: 

" Somebody tried to get in, so I was laying for him." 

"Why didn't you roust me out?" 

"Well, I tried to, but I couldn't; I couldn't budge you." 

"Well, all right. Don't stand there palavering all day, but 
out with you and see if there's a fish on the lines for breakfast. 
I'll be along in a minute." 

He unlocked the door, and I cleared out up the river-bank. 
I noticed some pieces of limbs and such things floating down, 
and a sprinkling of bark ; so I knowed the river had begun to 
rise. I reckoned I would have great times now if I was over 
at the town. The June rise used to be always luck for me ; be- 
cause as soon as that rise begins here comes cordwood floating 
down, and pieces of log rafts sometimes a dozen logs together; 



so all you have to do is to catch them and sell them to the wood- 
yards and the sawmill. 

I went along up the bank with one eye out for pap and 
t'other one out for what the rise might fetch along. Well, all 
at once here comes a canoe; just a beauty, too, about thirteen 
or fourteen foot long, riding high like a duck. I shot head*jlrst 
off of the bank like a frog, clothes and all on, and struck out 
for the canoe. I just expected there'd be somebody laying down 
in it, because people often done that to fool folks, and when a 
chap had pulled a skiff out most to it they'd raise up and laugh 
at him. But it warn't so this time. It was a drift-canoe sure 
enough, and I clumb in and paddled her ashore. Thinks I, the 
old man will be glad when he sees this she's worth ten dollars. 
But when I got to shore pap wasn't in sight yet, and as I was 
running her into a little creek like a gully, all hung over with 
vines and willows, I struck another idea: I judged I'd hide her 
good, and then, 'stead of taking to the woods when I run off, 
I'd go down the river about fifty mile and camp in one place 
for good, and not have such a rough time tramping on foot. 

It was pretty close to the shanty, and I thought I heard the 
old man coming all the time ; but I got her hid ; and then I out 
and looked around a bunch of willows, and there was the old 
man down the path a piece just drawing a bead on a bird with 
his gun. So he hadn't seen anything. 

When he got along I was hard at it taking up a "trot" line. 
He abused me a little for being so slow ; but I told him I fell 
in the river, and that was what made me so long. I knowed he 
would see I was wet, and then he would be asking questions. 
We got five catfish off the lines and went home. 

While we laid off after breakfast to sleep up, both of us 
being about wore out, I got to thinking that if I could fix up 
some way to keep pap and the widow from trying to follow 
me, it would be a certainer thing than trusting to luck to get 
far enough off before they missed me; you see, all kinds of 


things might happen. Well, I didn't see no way for a while, but 
by and by pap raised up a minute to drink another barrel of 
water, and he says : 

"Another time a man comes a-prowling round here you roust 
me out, you hear? That man warn't here for no good. I'd a shot 
himdNext time you roust me out, you hear?" 

Then he dropped down and went to sleep again ; what he had 
been saying give me the very idea I wanted. I says to myself, 
I can fix it now so nobody won't think of following me. 

About twelve o'clock we turned out and went along up the 
bank. The river was coming up pretty fast, and lots of drift- 
wood going by on the rise. By and by along comes part of a log 
raft nine logs fast together. We went out with the skiff and 
towed it ashore. Then we had dinner. Anybody but pap would 
'a' waited and seen the day through, so as to catch more stuff; 
but that warn't pap's style. Nine logs was enough for one time ; 
he must shove right over to town and sell. So he locked me in 
and took the skiff, and started off towing the raft about half 
past three. I judged he wouldn't come back that night. I waited 
till I reckoned he had got a good start; then I out with my 
saw, and went to work on that log again. Before he was t'other 
side of the river I was out of the hole; him and his raft was 
just a speck on the water away off yonder. 

I took the sack of corn meal and took it to where the canoe 
was hid, and shoved the vines and branches apart and put it in ; 
then I done the same with the side of bacon; then the whisky- 
jug. I took all the coffee and sugar there was, and all the am- 
munition; I took the wadding; I took the bucket and gourd; 
took a dipper and a tin cup, and my old saw and two blankets, 
and the skillet and the coffee-pot. I took fish-lines and matches 
and other things everything that was worth a cent. I cleaned 
out the place. I wanted an ax, but there wasn't any, only the 
one out at the woodpile, and I knowed why I was going to 
leave that. I fetched out the gun, and now I was done. 


I had wore the ground a good deal crawling out of the hole 
and dragging out so many things. So I fixed that as good as I 
could from the outside by scattering dust on the place, which 
covered up the smoothness and the sawdust. Then I fixed the 
piece of log back into its place, and put two rocks under it and 
one against it to hold it there, for it was bent up at that place 
and didn't quite touch ground. If you stood four or five foot 
away and didn't know it was sawed, you wouldn't never notice 
it; and besides, this was the back of the cabin, and it warn't 
likely anybody would go fooling around there. 

It was all grass clear to the canoe, so I hadn't left a track. I 
followed around to see. I stood on the bank and looked out over 
the river. All safe. So I took the gun and went up a piece into 
the woods, and was hunting around for some birds when I see 
a wild pig; hogs soon went wild in them bottoms after they had 
got away from the prairie-farms. I shot this fellow and took 
him into camp. 

I took the ax and smashed in the door. I beat it and hacked 
it considerable a-doing it. I fetched the pig in, and took him 
back nearly to the table and hacked into his throat with the ax, 
and laid him down on the ground to bleed ; I say ground because 
it was ground hard packed, and no boards. Well, next I took 
an old sack and put a lot of big rocks in it all I could drag 
and I started it from the pig, and dragged it to the door and 
through the woods down to the river and dumped it in, and 
down it sunk, out of sight. You could easy see that something 
had been dragged over the ground. I did wish Tom Sawyer 
was there; I knowed he would take an interest in this kind of 
business, and throw in the fancy touches. Nobody could spread 
himself like Tom Sawyer in such a thing as that. 

Well, last I pulled out some of my hair, and blooded the ax 
good, and stuck it on the back side, and slung the ax in the cor- 
ner. Then I took up the pig and held him to my breast with 
my jacket (so he couldn't drip) till I got a good piece below 


the house and then dumped him into the river. Now I thought 
of something else. So I went and got the bag of meal and my 
old saw out of the canoe, and fetched them to the house. I took 
the bag to where it used to stand, and ripped a hole in the bot- 
tom of it with the saw, for there warn't no knives and forks on 
the place pap done everything with his clasp-knife about the 
cooking. Then I carried the sack about a hundred yards across 
the grass and through the willows east of the house, to a shallow 
lake that was five mile wide and full of rushes and ducks too, 
you might say, in season. There was a slough or a creek leading 
out of it on the other side that went miles away, I don't know 
where, but it didn't go to the river. The meal sifted out and 
made a little track all the way to the lake. I dropped pap's 
whetstone there too, so as to look like it had been done by acci- 
dent. Then I tied up the rip in the meal-sack with a string, so 
it wouldn't leak no more, and took it and my saw to the canoe 

It was about dark now; so I dropped the canoe down the 
river under some willows that hung over the bank, and waited 
for the moon to rise. I made fast to a willow ; then I took a bite 
to eat, and by and by laid down in the canoe to smoke a pipe 
and lay out a plan. I says to myself, they'll follow the track 
of that sackful of rocks to the shore and then drag the river 
for me. And they'll follow that meal track to the lake and go 
browsing down the creek that leads out of it to find the robbers 
that killed me and took the things. They won't ever hunt the 
river for anything but my dead carcass. They'll soon get tired 
of that, and won't bother no more about me. All right; I can 
stop anywhere I want to. Jackson's Island is good enough for 
me ; I know that island pretty well, and nobody ever comes here. 
And then I can paddle over to town nights, and slink around 
and pick up things I want. Jackson's Island's the place. 

I was pretty tired, and the first thing I knowed I was asleep. 
When I woke up I didn't know where I was for a minute. I 


set up and looked around a little scared. Then I remembered. 
The river looked miles and miles across. The moon was so 
bright I could 'a' counted the drift-logs that went a-slipping 
along, black and still, hundreds of yards out from shore. Every- 
thing was dead quiet, and it looked late, and smelt late. You 
know what I mean I don't know the words to put it in. 

I took a good gap and a stretch, and was just going to un- 
hitch and start when I heard a sound away over the water. I 
listened. Pretty soon I made it out. It was that dull kind of a 
regular sound that comes from oars working in rowlocks when 
it's a still night. I peeped out through the willow branches, and 
there it was a skiff, away across the water. I couldn't tell 
how many was in it. It kept a-coming, and when it was abreast 
of me I see there warn't but one man in it. Thinks I, maybe it's 
pap, though I warn't expecting him. He dropped below me 
with the current, and by and by he came a-swinging up shore 
in the easy water, and he went by so close I could 'a' reached 
out the gun and touched him. Well, it was pap, sure enough 
and sober, too, by the way he laid his oars. 

I didn't lose no time. The next minute I was a-spinning 
down-stream soft, but quick, in the shade of the bank. I made 
two mile and a half, and then struck out a quarter of a mile 
or more toward the middle of the river, because pretty soon I 
would be passing the ferry-landing, and people might see me 
and hail me. I got out amongst the driftwood, and then laid 
down in the bottom of the canoe and let her float. I laid there, 
and had a good rest and a smoke out of my pipe, looking away 
into the sky ; not a cloud in it. The sky looks ever so deep when 
you lay down on your back in the moonshine ; I never knowed 
it before. And how far a body can hear on the water such 
nights! I heard people talking at the ferry-landing. I heard 
what they said, too every word of it. One man said it was get- 
ting toward the long days and the short nights now. T'other 
one said this warn't one of the short ones, he reckoned and 


then they laughed, and he said it over again, and they laughed 
again; then they waked up another fellow and told him, and 
laughed, but he didn't laugh; he ripped out something brisk, 
and said let him alone. The first fellow said he 'lowed to tell 
it to his old woman she would think it was pretty good; but 
he said that warn't nothing to some things he had said in his 
time. I heard one man say it was nearly three o'clock, and he 
hoped daylight wouldn't wait more than about a week longer. 
After that the talk got further and further away, and I couldn't 
make out the words any more; but I could hear the mumble, 
&nd now and then a laugh, too, but it seemed a long ways off. 

I was away below the ferry now. I rose up, and there was 
Jackson's Island, about two mile and a half down-stream, 
heavy-timbered and standing up out of the middle of the river, 
big and dark and solid, like a steamboat without any lights. 
There warn't any signs of the bar at the head it was all under 
water now. 

It didn't take me long to get there. I shot past the head at 
a ripping rate, the current was so swift, and then I got into the 
dead water and landed on the side towards the Illinois shore. 
I run the canoe into a deep dent in the bank that I knowed 
about; I had to part the willow branches to get in; and when I 
made fast nobody could 'a' seen the canoe from the outside. 

I went up and set down on a log at the head of the island, 
and looked out on the big river and the black driftwood and 
away over to the town, three mile away, where there was three 
or four lights twinkling. A monstrous big lumber-raft was 
about a mile upstream, coming along down, with a lantern in 
the middle of it. I watched it come creeping down and, when it 
was most abreast of where I stood I heard a man say, " Stern 
oars, there! heave her head to stabboard!" I heard that just as 
plain as if the man was by my side. 

There was a little gray in the sky now; so I stepped into the 
woods, and laid down for a nap before breakfast. 


.HE sun was up so high when I waked that I judged it was 
after eight o'clock. I laid there in the grass and the cool shade 
thinking about things, and feeling rested and ruther comforta- 
ble and satisfied. I could see the sun out at one or two holes, 
but mostly it was big trees all about, and gloomy in there 
amongst them. There was freckled places on the ground where 
the light sifted down through the leaves, and the freckled places 
swapped about a little, showing there was a little breeze up 
there. A couple of squirrels set on a limb and jabbered at me 
very friendly. 

I was powerful lazy and comfortable didn't want to get up 
and cook breakfast. Well, I was dozing off again when I thinks 
I hears a deep sound of "boom!" away up the river. I rouses up, 
and rests on my elbow and listens ; pretty soon I hears it again. 
I hopped up, and went and looked out at a hole in the leaves, 
and I see a bunch of smoke laying on the water a long ways 
up about abreast the ferry. And there was the ferryboat full 
of people floating along down. I knowed what was the matter 
now. "Boom!" I see the white smoke squirt out of the ferry- 
boat's side. You see, they was firing cannon over the water, 
trying to make my carcass come to the top. 



I was pretty hungry, but it warn't going to do for me to start 
a fire, because they might see the smoke. So I set there and 
watched the cannon-smoke and listened to the boom. The river 
was a mile wide there, and it always looks pretty on a summer 
morning so I was having a good enough time seeing them 
hunt for my remainders if I only had a bite to eat. Well, then 
I happened to think how they always put quicksilver in loaves 
of bread and float them off, because they always go right to the 
drownded carcass and stop there. So, says I, I'll keep a look- 
out, and if any of them's floating around after me I'll give 
them a show. I changed to the Illinois edge of the island to see 
what luck I could have, and I warn't disappointed. A big dou- 
ble loaf come along, and I most got it with a long stick, but 
my foot slipped and she floated out further. Of course I was 
where the current set in the closest to the shore I knowed 
enough for that. But by and by along comes another one, and 
this time I won. I took out the plug and shook out the little dab 
of quicksilver, and set my teeth in. It was "baker's bread" 
what the quality eat; none of your low-down corn-pone. 

I got a good place amongst the leaves, and set there on a 
log, munching the bread and watching the ferryboat, and very 
well satisfied. And then something struck me. I says, now I 
reckon the widow or the parson or somebody prayed that this 
bread would find me, and here it has gone and done it. So there 
ain't no doubt but there is something in that thing that is, 
there's something in it when a body like the widow or the par- 
son prays, but it don't work for me, and I reckon it don't work 
for only just the right kind. 

I lit a pipe and had a good long smoke, and went on watch- 
ing. The ferryboat was floating with the current, and I allowed 
I'd have a chance to see who was aboard when she come along, 
because she would come in close, where the bread did. When 
she'd got pretty well along down towards me, I put out my 
pipe and went to where I fished out the bread, and laid down 


behind a log on the bank in a little open place. Where the log 
forked I could peep through. 

By and by she come along, and she drifted in so close that 
they could 'a' run out a plank and walked ashore. Most every- 
body was on the boat. Pap, and Judge Thatcher, and Bessie 
Thatcher, and Joe Harper, and Tom Sawyer, and his old Aunt 
Polly, and Sid and Mary, and plenty more. Everybody was 
talking about the murder, but the captain broke in and says: 

"Look sharp, now; the current sets in the closest here, and 
maybe he's washed ashore and got tangled amongst the brush 
at the water's edge. I hope so, anyway." 

I didn't hope so. They all crowded up and leaned over the 
rails, nearly in my face, and kept still, watching with all their 
might. I could see them first-rate, but they couldn't see me. 
Then the captain sung out: "Stand away!" and the cannon let 
off such a blast right before me that it made me deef with the 
noise and pretty near blind with the smoke, and I judged I was 
gone. If they'd 'a' had some bullets in, I reckon they'd 'a' got 
the corpse they was after. Well, I see I warn't hurt, thanks to 
goodness. The boat floated on and went out of sight around the 
shoulder of the island. I could hear the booming now and then, 
further and further off, and by and by, after an hour, I didn't 
hear it no more. The island was three mile long. I judged they 
had got to the foot, and was giving it up. But they didn't yet 
awhile. They turned around the foot of the island and started 
up the channeLon the Missouri side, under steam, and boom- 
ing once in a while as they went. I crossed over to that side and 
watched them. When they got abreast the head of the island 
they quit shooting and dropped over to the Missouri shore and 
went home to the town. 

I knowed I was all right now. Nobody else would come 
a-hunting after me. I got my traps out of the canoe and made 
me a nice camp in the thick woods. I made a kind of a tent out 
nf mv blankets to put my things under so the rain couldn't get 


at them. I catched a catfish and haggled him open with my saw, 
and towards sundown I started my camp-fire and had supper. 
Then I set out a line to catch some fish for breakfast. 

When it was dark I set by my camp-fire smoking, and feel- 
ing pretty well satisfied ; but by and by it got sort of lonesome, 
and so I went and set on the bank and listened to the current 
swashing along, and counted the stars and drift-logs and rafts 
that come down, and then went to bed; there ain't no better 
way to put in time when you are lonesome ; you can't stay so, 
you soon get over it. 

And so for three days and nights. No difference just the 
same thing. But the next day I went exploring around down 
through the island. I was boss of it ; it all belonged to me, so to 
say, and I wanted to know all about it; but mainly I wanted 
to put in the time. I found plenty strawberries, ripe and prime ; 
and green summer grapes, and green razberries ; and the green 
blackberries was just beginning to show. They would all come 
handy by and by, I judged. 

Well, I went fooling along in the deep woods till I judged I 
warn't far from the foot of the island. I had my gun along, but 
I hadn't shot nothing; it was for protection; thought I would 
kill some game nigh home. About this time I mighty near 
stepped on a good-sized snake, and it went sliding off through 
the grass and flowers, and I after it, trying to get a shot at it. 
I clipped along, and all of a sudden I bounded right on to the 
ashes of a camp-fire that was all smoking. 

My heart jumped up amongst my lungs. I never waited for 
to look further, but uncocked my gun and went sneaking back 
on my tiptoes as fast as ever I could. Every now and then I 
stopped a second amongst the thick leaves and listened, but my 
breath come so hard I couldn't hear nothing else. I slunk along 
another piece further, then listened again; and so on, and so 
on. If I see a stump, I took it for a man; if I trod on a stick 
and broke it, it made me feel like a person had cut one of my 


breaths in two and I only got half, and the short half, too. 

When I got to camp I warn't feeling very brash, there warn't 
much sand in my craw ; but I says, this ain't no time to be fool- 
ing around. So I got all my traps into my canoe again so as to 
have them out of sight, and I put out the fire and scattered the 
ashes around to look like an old last-year's camp, and then 
clumb a tree. 

I reckon I was up in the tree two hours; but I didn't see 
nothing, didn't hear nothing I only thought I heard and seen 
as much as a thousand things. Well, I couldn't stay up there 
forever; so at last I got down, but I kept in the thick woods 
and on the lookout all the time. All I could get to eat was 
berries and what was left over from breakfast. 

By the time it was night I was pretty hungry. So when it 
was good and dark I slid out from* shore before moonrise and 
paddled over to the Illinois bank about a quarter of a mile. 
I went out in the woods and cooked a supper, and I had about 
made up my mind I would stay there all night when I hear a 
plunkety-plurik, plunkety -plunk, and says to myself, horses 
coming ; and next I hear people's voices. I got everything into 
the canoe as quick as I could, and then went creeping through 
the woods to see what I could find out. I hadn't got far when 
I heard a man say: 

"We better camp here if we can find a good place; the horses 
is about beat out. Let's look around." 

I didn't wait, but shoved out and paddled away easy. I tied 
up in the old place, and reckoned I would sleep in the canoe. 

I didn't sleep much. I couldn't, somehow, for thinking. And 
every time I waked up I thought somebody had me by the neck. 
So the sleep didn't do me no good. By and by I says to myself, 
I can't live this way; I'm a-going to find out who it is that's 
here on the island with me; I'll find it out or bust. Well, I felt 
better right off. 

So I took my paddle and slid out from shore just a step or 


two, and then let the canoe drop along down amongst the 
shadows. The moon was shining, and outside of the shadows it 
made it most as light as day. I poked along well on to an hour, 
everything still as rocks and sound asleep. Well, by this time I 
was most down to the foot of the island. A little ripply, cool 
breeze begun to blow, and that was as good as saying the night 
was about done. 1 give her a turn with the paddle and brung 
her nose to shore; then I got my gun and slipped out and into 
the edge of the woods. I sat down there on a log, and looked 
out through the leaves. 1 see the moon go off watch, and the 
darkness begin to blanket the river. But in a little while I see 
a pale streak over the treetops, and knowed the day was coin- 
ing. So I took my gun and slipped off towards where I had run 
across that camp-fire, stopping every minute or two to listen. 
But I hadn't no luck somehow! I couldn't seem to find the place. 
But by and by, sure enough, I catched a glimpse* of fire away 
through the trees. I went for it cautious and slow. By and by 
I was close enough to have a look, and there laid a man on the 
ground. It most give me the f antods. lie had a blanket around 
his head, and his head was nearly in the fire. I set there behind 
a clump of bushes in about six foot of him, and kept my eyes 
on him steady. It was getting gray daylight now. Pretty soon 
he gapped and stretched himself and hove off the blanket, and 
it was Miss Watson's Jim! I bet I was glad to see him. I says: 

"Hello, Jim!" and skipped out. 

He bounced up and stared at me wild. Then he drops down 
on his knees, and puts his hands together and says : 

"Doan' hurt me don't! I hain't ever done no harm to a 
ghos'. I alwuz liked dead people, en done all I could for 'em. 
You go en git in de river ag'in, whah you b'longs, en doan' do 
nuffin to Old Jim, 'at 'uz alwuz yo' fren'." 

Well, I warn't long making him understand I warn't dead. 
I was ever so glad to see Jim. I warn't lonesome now. I told 
him I warn't afraid of him telling the people where I was. I 


talked along, but he only set there and looked at me ; never said 
nothing. Then I says : 

"It's good daylight. Le's get breakfast. Make up your camp- 
fire good." 

"What's de use er makin' up de camp-fire to cook strawbries 
en sich truck? But you got a gun, hain't you? Den we kin git 
sumfn better den strawbries." 

"Strawberries and such truck," I says. "Is that what you 
live on?" 

"I couldn't git nuffn else," he says. 

"Why, how long you been on the island, Jim?" 

"I come heah de night arter you's killed." 

"What, all that time?" 


"And ain't you had nothing but that kind of rubbage to eat?" 

"No-sash nuffn else." 

"Well, you must be most starved, ain't you?" 

"I reck'n I could eat a hoss. I think I could. How long you 
ben on de islan'?" 

"Since the night I got killed." 

"No! W'y, what has you lived on? But you got a gun. Oh, 
yes, you got a gun. Dat's good. Now you kill sumfn en I'll 
make up de fire." 

So we went over to where the canoe was, and while he built 
a fire in a grassy open place amongst the trees, I fetched meal 
and bacon and coffee, arid coffee-pot and frying-pan, and sugar 
and tin cups, and the nigger was set back considerable, because 
he reckoned it was all done with witchcraft. I catched a good 
big catfish, too, and Jim cleaned him with his knife, and fried 

When breakfast was ready we lolled on the grass and eat it 
smoking hot. Jim laid it in with all his might, for he was most 
about starved. Then when we had got pretty well stuffed, we 
laid off and lazied. 


By and by Jim says: 

"But looky here, Huck, who wuz it dat 'uz killed in dat 
shanty ef it warn't you?" 

Then I told him the whole thing, and he said it was smart. 
He said Tom Sawyer couldn't get up no better plan than what 
I had. Then I says : 

"How do you come to be here, Jim, and how'd you get here?" 

He looked pretty uneasy, and didn't say nothing for a min- 
ute. Then he says : 

"Maybe I better not tell." 

"Why, Jim?" 

"Well, dey's reasons. But you wouldn' tell on me ef I 'uz 
to tell you, would you, Huck?" 

"Blamed if I would, Jim." 

"Well, I b'lieve you, Huck. I I run off/' 


"But mind, you said you wouldn' tell you know you said 
you wouldn' tell, Huck." 

"Well, I did. I said I wouldn't, and I'll stick to it. Honest 
injun, I will. People would call me a low-down Abolitionist 
and despise me for keeping mum but that don't make no dif- 
ference. I ain't a-going to tell, and I ain't a-going back there, 
anyways. So, now, le's know all about it." 

"Well, you see, it 'uz dis way. Ole missus dat's Miss Wat- 
son she pecks on me all de time, en treats me poorty rough, 
but she alwuz said she wouldn' sell me down to Orleans. But 
I noticed dey wuz a nigger trader roun' de place considable 
lately, en I begin to git oneasy. Well, one night I creeps to de 
do' pooty late, en de do' warn't quite shet, en I hear old missus 
tell de widder she gwyne to sell me down to Orleans, but she 
didn' want to, but she could git eight hund'd dollars for me, 
en it 'uz sich a big stack o' money she couldn' resis'. De widder 
she try to git her to say she wouldn' do it, but I never waited 
to hear de res'. I lit out mighty quick, I tell you. 


"I tuck out en shin down de hill, en 'spec to steal a skift 'long 
de sho' som'ers 'bove de town, but dey wuz people a-stirrin' 
yit, so I hid in de ole tumbledown cooper shop on de bank to 
wait for everybody to go 'way. Well, I wuz dah all night. Dey 
wuz somebody roun' all de time. 'Long 'bout six in de mawnin' 
skifts begin to go by, en 'bout eight er nine every skift dat 
went 'long wuz talkin' 'bout how yo' pap come over to de town 
en say you's killed. Dese las' skifts wuz full o' ladies en genlmen 
a-goin' over for to see de place. Sometimes dey'd pull up at de 
sho' en take a res' b'fo' dey started acrost, so by de talk I got 
to know all 'bout de killin'. I 'uz powerful sorry you's killed, 
Huck, but I ain't no mo' now. 

"I laid dah under de shavin's all day. I 'uz hungry, but I 
warn't afeard; bekase I kriowed ole missus en de widder wuz 
goin' to start to de camp-meet'ii' right arter breakfas' en be 
gone all day, en dey knows I goes off wid de cattle 'bout day- 
light, so dey wouldn' 'spec to see me roun' de place, en so dey 
wouldn' miss me tell arter dark in de evenin'. De yuther serv- 
ants wouldn' miss me, kase dey'd shin out en take holiday soon 
as de ole folks 'uz out'n de way. 

"Well, when it come dark I tuck out up de river road, en 
went 'bout two mile er more to whah dey warn't no houses. I'd 
made up my mine 'bout what I's a-gwyne to do. You see, ef I 
kep' on tryin' to git away afoot, de dogs 'ud track me; ef I stole 
a skift to cross over, dey'd miss dat skift, you see, en dey'd 
know 'bout whah I'd Ian' on the yuther side, en whah to pick 
up my track. So I says, a raff is what I's arter; it doan' make 
no track. 

"I see a light a-comin' roun' de p'int bymeby, so I wade' in 
en shove' a log ahead o' me en swum more'n half-way acrost de 
river, en got in 'mongst de driftwood, en kep' my head down 
low, en kinder swum agin de current tell de raff come along. 
Den I swum to de stern uv it en tuck a-holt. It clouded up en 
'uz pooty dark for a little while. So I climb up en laid down 


on de planks. De men 'uz all 'way yonder in de middle, whal: 
de lantern wuz. De river wuz a-risin', en dey wuz a good cur- 
rent; so I reck'n'd 'at by fo' in de mawnin' I'd be twenty-five 
mile down de river, en den I'd slip in jis b'fo' daylight en swim 
asho', en take to de woods on de Illinois side. 

"But I didn' have no luck. When we 'uz mos' down to de 
head er de islan' a man begin to come aft wid de lantern. I see 
it warn't no use fer to wait, so I slid overboard en struck out f er 
de islan'. Well, I had a notion I could Ian' mos' anywhers, but 
I couldn' bank too bluff . I 'uz mos' to de foot er de islan' 
b'fo' I foun' a good place. I went into de woods en j edged I 
wouldn't fool wid raffs no mo', long as dey move de lantern 
roun' so. I had my pipe en a plug er dog-leg . en some matches 
in my cap, en dey warn't wet, so I 'uz all right." 

"And so you ain't had no meat nor bread to eat all this time? 
Why didn't you get mud-turkles?" 

"How you gwyne to git 'm? You can't slip up on um en grab 
um; en how's a body gwyne to hit um wid a rock? How could 
a body do it in de night? En I warn't gwyne to show myself 
on de bank in de daytime." 

"Well, that's so. You've had to keep in the woods all the time, 
of course. Did you hear 'em shooting the cannon?" 

"Oh, yes. I knowed dey was arter you. I see um go by heah 
watched um thoo de bushes." 

Some young birds come along, flying a yard or two at a time 
and lighting. Jim said it was a sign it was going to rain. He 
said it was a sign when young chickens flew that way, and so 
he reckoned it was the same way when young birds done it. I 
was going to catch some of them, but Jim wouldn't let me. He 
said it was death. He said his father laid mighty sick once, and 
some of them catched a bird, and his old granny said his father 
would die, and he did. 

And Jim said you mustn't count the things you are going to 
cook for dinner, because that would bring bad luck. The same 

[SEE PAGE 3 1 

"Jim got down on his knees, and put his ear 
against it and listened." 


if you shook the tablecloth after sun-down. And he said if a man 
owned a beehive and that man died, the bees must be told about 
it before sun-up next morning, or else the bees would all 
weaken down and quit work and die. Jim said bees wouldn't 
sting idiots ; but I didn't believe that, because I had tried them 
lots of times myself, and they wouldn't sting me. 

I had heard about some of these things before, but not all of 
them. Jim knowed all kinds of signs. He said he knowed most 
everything. I said it looked to me like all the signs was about 
bad luck, and so I asked him if there warn't any good-luck 
signs. He says: 

"Mighty few an' dey ain't no use to a body. What you 
want to know when good luck's a-comin' for? Want to keep it 
off?" And he said: "Ef you's got hairy arms en a hairy breas', 
it's a sign dat you's a-gwyne to be rich. Well, dey's some use 
in a sign like dat, 'kase it's so fur ahead. You see, maybe you's 
got to be po' a long time fust, en so you might git discourage' 
en kill yo'sef 'f you didn't know by de sign dat you gwyne to 
be rich bymeby." 

"Have you got hairy arms and a hairy breast, Jim?" 

"What's de use to ax dat question? Don't you see I has?" 

"Well, are you rich?" 

"No, but I ben rich wunst, and gwyne to be rich ag'in. Wunst 
I had foteen dollars, but I tuck to specalat'n', en got busted 

"What did you speculate in, Jim?" 

"Well, fust I tackled stock." 

"What kind of stock?" 

"Why, live stock cattle, you know. I put ten dollars in 
a cow. But I ain' gwyne to resk no mo' money in stock., De 
cow up 'n' died on my han's." 

"So you lost the ten dollars." 'y 

"No, I didn't lose it all. I on'y los' 'bout nine of it, I {fole de 
hide en taller for a dollar en ten cents." 


"You had five dollars and ten cents left. Did you speculate 
any more?" 

"Yes. You know that one-laigged nigger dat b'longs to old 
Misto Bradish ? Well, he sot up a bank, en say anybody dat put 
in a dollar would git fo' dollars mo' at de en' er de year. Well, 
all de niggers went in, but dey didn't have much. I wuz de on'y 
one dat had much. So I stuck out for mo' dan fo' dollars, en I 
said 'f I didn't git it I'd start a bank myself. Well, o' course dat 
nigger want' to keep me out er de business, bekase he says dey 
warn't business 'nough for two banks, so he say I could put 
in my five dollars en he pay me thirty -five at de en' er de year. 

"So I done it. Den I reck'n'd I'd inves' de thirty-five dollars 
right off en keep things a-movin'. Dey wuz a nigger name' 
Bob, dat had ketched a wood-flat, en his marster didn't know 
it; en I bought it off'n him en told him to take de thirty-five 
dollars when de en' er de year come; but somebody stole de 
wood-flat dat night, en nex' day de one-laigged nigger say de 
bank's busted. So dey didn't none uv us git no money." 

"What did you do with the ten cents, Jim?" 

"Well, I 'uz gwyne to spen' it, but I had a dream, en de 
dream tole me to give it to a nigger name' Balum Balum's 
Ass dey call him for short; he's one er dem chuckleheads, you 
know. But he's lucky, dey say, en I see I warn't lucky. De 
dream say let Balum inves' de ten cents en he'd make a raise 
for me. Well, Balum he tuck de money, en when he wuz in 
church he hear de preacher say dat whoever give to de po' len' 
to de Lord, en boun' to git his money back a hund'd times. So 
Balum he tuck en give de ten cents to de po', en laid low to see 
what wuz gwyne to come of it." 

"Well, what did come of it, Jim?" 

"Nuffn never come of it. I couldn' manage to k'leck dat 
money no way; en Balum he couldn'. I ain' gwyne to len' no 
mo' money 'dout I see de security. Boun' to git yo' money badk 


a hund'd times, de preacher says! Ef I could git de ten cents 
back, I'd call it squah, en be glad er de chanst." 

"Well, it's all right anyway, Jim, long as you're going to be 
rich again some time or other." 

"Yes; en I's rich now, come to look at it. I owns myself, en 
I's wuth eight hund'd dollars. I wisht I had de money, I 
wouldn't want no mo'." 



WANTED to go and look at a place right about the middle 
of the island that I'd found when I was exploring; so we started 
and soon got to it, because the island was only three miles long 
and a quarter of a mile wide. 

This place was a tolerable long, steep hill or ridge about 
forty foot high. We had a rough time getting to the top, the 
sides were so steep and the bushes so thick. We tramped and 
clumb around all over it, and by and by found a good big cav- 
ern in the rock, most up to the top on the side towards Illinois. 
The cavern was as big as two or three rooms bunched together, 
and Jim could stand up straight in it. It was cool in there. Jim 
was for putting our traps in there right away, but I said we 
didn't want to be climbing up and down there all the time. 

Jim said if we had the canoe hid in a good place and had all 
the traps in the cavern, we could rush there if anybody was to 
come to the island, and they would never find us without dogs. 
And, besides, he said them little birds had said it was going to 
rain, and did I want the things to get wet? 



So we went back and got the canoe, and paddled up abreast 
the cavern, and lugged all the traps up there. Then we hunted 
up a place close by to hide the canoe in, amongst the thick 
willows. We took some fish off of the lines and set them again, 
and begun to get ready for dinner. 

The door of the cavern was big enough to roll a hogshead in, 
and on one side of the door the floor stuck out a little bit, and 
was flat and a good place to build a fire on. So we built it there 
and cooked dinner. 

We spread the blankets inside for a carpet, and eat our din- 
ner in there. We put all the other things handy at the back of 
the cavern. Pretty soon it darkened up, and begun to thunder 
and lighten; so the birds was right about it. Directly it begun 
to rain, and it rained like all fury, too, and I never see the wind 
blow so. It was one of these regular summer storms. It would 
get so dark that it looked all blue-black outside, and lovely; 
and the rain would thrash along by so thick that the trees off a 
little ways looked dim and spider- webby ; and here would come 
a blast of wind that would bend the trees down and turn up the 
pale underside of the leaves; and then a perfect ripper of a 
gust would follow along and set the branches to tossing their 
arms as if they was just wild; and next, when it was just about 
the bluest and blackest fstl it was as bright as glory, and 
you'd have a little glimpse of treetops a-plunging about away 
off yonder in the storm, hundreds of yards further than you 
could see before ; dark as sin again in a second, and now you'd 
hear the thunder let go with an awful crash, and then go rum- 
bling, grumbling, tumbling, down the sky towards the under 
side of the world, like rolling empty barrels down-stairs 
where it's long stairs and they bounce a good deal, you know. 

"Jim, this is nice," I says. "I wouldn't want to be nowhere 
else but here. Pass me along another hunk of fish and some hot 

"Well, you wouldn' 'a' ben here 'f it hadn't V ben for Jim. 


You'd 'a' ben down dah in de woods widout any dinner, en 
gittin' mos' drownded, too; dat you would, honey. Chickens 
knows when it's gwyne to rain, en so do de birds, chile." 

The river went on raising and raising for ten or twelve days, 
till at last it was over the banks. The water was three or four 
foot deep on the island in the low places and on the Illinois 
bottom. On that side it was a good many miles wide, but on the 
Missouri side it was the same old distance across a half a mile 
because the Missouri shore was just a wall of high bluffs. 

Daytimes we paddled all over the island in the canoe. It was 
mighty cool and shady in the deep woods, even if the sun was 
blazing outside. We went winding in and out amongst the trees, 
and sometimes the vines hung so thick we had to back away and 
go some other way. Well, on every old broken-down tree you 
could see rabbits and snakes and such things; and when the 
island had been overflowed a day or two they got -so tame, on 
account of being hungry, that you could paddle right up and 
put your hand on them if you wanted to ; but not the snakes and 
turtles they would slide off in the water. The ridge our cavern 
was in was full of them. We could 'a' had pets enough if we'd 
wanted them. 

One night we catched a little section of a lumber-raft nice 
pine planks. Ik was twelve foot wide and about fifteen or six- 
teen foot long, and the top stood above water six or seven inches 
a solid, level floor. We could see saw-logs go by in the day- 
light sometimes, but we let them go; we didn't show ourselves 
in daylight. 

Another night when we was up at the head of the island, just 
before daylight, here comes a frame-house down, on the west 
side. She was a two-story, and tilted over considerable. We 
paddled out and got aboard clumb in at an up-stairs window. 
But it was too dark to see yet, so we made the canoe fast and 
set in her to wait for daylight. 

The light begun to come before we got to the foot of the 


island. Then we looked in at the window. We could make out 
a bed, and a table, and two old chairs, arid lots of things around 
about on the floor, and there was clothes hanging against the 
wall. There was something laying on the floor in the far corner 
that looked like a man. So Jim says: 

"Hello, you!" 

But it didn't budge. So I hollered again, and then Jim says: 

"De man ain't asleep he's dead. You hold still I'll go en 

He went, and bent down and looked, and says: 

"It's a dead man. Yes, indeedy; naked, too. He's ben shot in 
de back. I reck'n he's ben dead two er three days. Come in, 
Huck, but doaii' look at his face it's too gashly." 

I didn't look at him at all. Jim throwed some old rags over 
him, but he needn't done it; I didn't want to see him. There 
was heaps of old greasy cards scattered around over the floor, 
and old whisky-bottles, and a couple of masks made out of 
black cloth; and all over the walls was the ignorantest kind of 
words and pictures made with charcoal. There was two old 
dirty calico dresses, and a sun-bonnet, and some women's un- 
derclothes hanging against the wall, and some men's clothing, 
too. We put the lot into the canoe it might come good. There 
was a boy's old speckled straw hat on the floor; I took that, too. 
And there was a bottle that had had milk in it, and it had a 
rag stopper for a baby to suck. We would V took the bottle, 
but it was broke. There was a seedy old chest, and an old hair 
trunk with the hinges broke. They stood open, but there warn't 
nothing left in them that was any account. The way things was 
scattered about we reckoned the people left in a hurry, and 
warn't fixed so as to carry off most of their stuff. 

We got an old tin lantern, and a butcher-knife without any 
handle, and a bran-new Barlow knife worth two bits in any 
store, and a lot of tallow candles, and a tin candlestick, and a 
gourd, and a tin cup, and a ratty old bedquilt off the bed, and 


a reticule with needles and pins and beeswax and buttons and 
thread and all such truck in it, and a hatchet and some nails, 
and a fish-line as thick as my little finger with some monstrous 
hooks on it, and a roll of buckskin, and a leather dog-collar, and 
a horseshoe, and some vials of medicine that didn't have no 
label on them; and just as we was leaving I found a tolerable 
good currycomb, and Jim he found a ratty old fiddle-bow, and 
a wooden leg. The straps was broke off it, but, barring that, it 
was a good enough leg, though it was too long for me and not 
long enough for Jim, and we couldn't find the other one, though 
we hunted all around. 

And so, take it all around, we made a good haul. When we 
was ready to shove off we was a quarter of a mile below the 
island, and it was pretty broad day; so I made Jim lay down 
in the canoe and cover up with the quilt, because if he set up 
people could tell he was a nigger a good ways off. I paddled 
over to the Illinois shore, and drifted down most a half a mile 
doing it. I crept up the dead water under the bank, and hadn't 
no accidents and didn't see nobody. We got home all safe. 


breakfast I wanted to talk about the dead man 
and guess out how he come to be killed, but Jim didn't want to. 
He said it would fetch bad luck ; and besides, he said, he might 
come and ha'nt us ; he said a man that warn't buried was more 
likely to go a-ha'nting around than one that was planted and 
comfortable. That sounded pretty reasonable, so I didn't say 
no more; but I couldn't keep from studying over it and 
wishing I knowed who shot the man, and what they done 
it for. , 

We rummaged the clothes we'd got, and found eight dollars 
in silver sewed up in the lining of an old blanket overcoat. Jim 
said he reckoned the people in that house stole the coat, be- 
cause if they'd 'a' knowed the money was there they wouldn* 'a' 
left it. I said I reckoned they killed him, too; but Jim didn't 
want to talk about that. I says : 

"Now you think it's bad luck; but what did you say when I 
fetched in the snake-skin that I found on the top of the ridge 
day before yesterday? You said it was the worst bad luck in 
the world to touch a snake-skin with my hands. Well, here's 
your bad luck! We've raked in all this truck and eight dollars 
besides. I wish we could have some bad luck like this every 
day, Jim." 


"Never you mind, honey, never you mind. Don't you git too 
peart. It's a-comin'. Mind I tell you, it's a-comin'." 

It did come, too. It was a Tuesday that we had that talk. 
Well, after dinner Friday we was laying around in the grass 
at the upper end of the ridge, and got out of tobacco. I went 
to the cavern to get some, and found a rattlesnake in there. I 
killed him, and curled him up on the foot of Jim's blanket, ever 
so natural, thinking there'd be some fun when Jim found him 
there. Well, by night I forgot all about the snake, and when 
Jim flung himself down on the blanket while I struck a light 
the snake's mate was there, and bit him. 

He jumped up yelling, and the first thing the light showed 
was the varmint curled up and ready for another spring. I laid 
him out in a second with a stick, and Jim grabbed pap's whisky- 
jug and begun to pour it down. 

He was barefooted, and the snake bit him right* on the heel. 
That all comes of my being such a fool as to not remember 
that wherever you leave a dead snake its mate always comes 
there and curls around it. Jim told me to chop off the snake's 
head and throw it away, and then skin the body and roast a 
piece of it. I done it, and he eat it and said it would help cure 
him. He made me take off the rattles and tie them around his 
wrist, too. He said that would help. Then I slid out quiet and 
throwed the snakes clear away amongst the bushes ; for I warn't 
going to let Jim find out it was all my fault, not if I could 
help it. 

Jim sucked and sucked at the jug, and now and then he got 
out of his head and pitched around and yelled; but every time 
he come to himself he went to sucking at the jug again. His 
foot swelled up pretty big, and so did his leg; but by and by 
the drunk begun to come, and so I judged he was all right; but 
I'd druther been bit with a snake than pap's whisky. 

Jim was laid up for four days and nights. Then the swelling 
was all gone and he was around again. I made up my mind I 


wouldn't ever take a-holt of a snake-skin again with my hands, 
now that I see what had come of it. Jim said he reckoned I 
would believe him next time. And he said that handling a snake- 
skin was such awful bad luck that maybe we hadn't got to the 
end of it yet. He said he druther see the new moon over his left 
shoulder as much as a thousand times than take up a snake- 
skin in his hand. Well, I was getting to feel that way myself, 
though I've always reckoned that looking at the new moon over 
your left shoulder is one of the carelessest and f oolishest things 
a body can do. Old Hank Bunker done it once, and bragged 
about it; and in less than two years he got drunk and fell off 
of the shot-tower, and spread himself out so that he was just a 
kind of a layer, as you may say; and they slid him edgeways 
between two barn doors for a coffin, and buried him so, so they 
say, but I didn't see it. Pap told me. But anyway it all come of 
looking at the moon that way, like a fool. 

Well, the days went along, and the river went down between 
its banks again ; and about the first thing we done was to bait 
one of the big books with a skinned rabbit and set it and catch 
a catfish that was as big as a man, being six foot two inches 
long, and weighed over two hundred pounds. We couldn't 
handle him, of course; he would 'a' flung us into Illinois. We 
just set there and watched him rip and tear around till he 
drownded. We found a brass button in his stomach and a round 
ball, and lots of rubbage. We split the ball open with the 
hatchet, and there was a spool in it. Jim said he'd had it there 
a long time, to coat it over so and make a ball of it. It was as 
big a fish as was ever catched in the Mississippi, I reckon. Jim 
said he hadn't ever seen a bigger one. He would 'a' been worth 
a good deal over at the village. They peddle out such a fish 
as that by the pound in the market-house there ; everybody buys 
some of him ; his meat's as white as snow and makes a good fry. 

Next morning I said it was getting slow and dull, and I 
wanted to get a stirring-up some way. I said I reckoned I 


would slip over the river and find out what was going on. Jim 
liked that notion; but he said I must go in the dark and look 
sharp. Then he studied it over and said, couldn't I put on some 
of them old things and dress up like a girl? That was a good 
notion, too. So we shortened up one of the calico gowns, and 
I turned my trouser-legs to my knees and got into it. Jim 
hitched it behind with the hooks, and it was a fair fit. I put on 
the sun-bonnet and tied it under my chin, and then for a body 
to look in and see my face was like looking down a joint of 
stove-pipe. Jim said nobody would know me, even in the day- 
time, hardly. I practised around all day to get the hang of the 
things, and by and by I could do pretty well in them, only Jim 
said I didn't walk like a girl; and he said I must quit pulling 
up my gown to get at my britches-pocket. I took notice, and 
done better. 

I started up the Illinois shore in the canoe just" after dark. 

I started across to the town from a little below the ferry- 
landing, and the drift of the current fetched me in at the bot- 
tom of the town. I tied up and started along the bank. There 
was a light burning in a little shanty that hadn't been lived in 
for a long time, and I wondered who had took up quarters there. 
I slipped up and peeped in at the window. There was a woman 
about forty year old in there knitting by a candle that was on a 
pine table. I didn't know her face ; she was a stranger, for you 
couldn't start a face in that town that I didn't know. Now this 
was lucky, because I was weakening ; I was getting afraid I had 
come ; people might know my voice and find me out. But if this 
woman had been in such a little town two days she could tell 
me all I wanted to know ; so I knocked at the door, and made up 
my mind I wouldn't forget I was a girl. 





'OME in," says the woman, and I did. She says: "Take a 

I done it. She looked me all over with her little shiny eyes, 
and says: 

"What might your name be?" 

"Sarah Williams." 

"Where 'bouts do you live? In this neighborhood?" 

"No'm. In Hookerville, seven miles below. I've walked all 
the way and I'm all tired out." 

"Hungry, too, I reckon. I'll find you something." 

"No'm, I ain't hungry. I was so hungry I had to stop two 
miles below here at a farm ; so I ain't hungry no more. It's what 
makes me so late. My mother's down sick, and out of money 
and everything, and I come to tell my uncle Abner Moore. He 
lives at the upper end of the town, she says. I hain't ever been 
here before. Do you know him?" 

"No; but I don't know everybody yet. I haven't lived here 



quite two weeks. It's a considerable ways to the upper end of 
the town. You better stay here all night. Take off your 

"No," I says; "I'll rest awhile, I reckon, and go on. I ain't 
afeard of the dark." 

She said she wouldn't let me go by myself, but her husband 
would be in by and by, maybe in a hour and a half, and she'd 
send him along with me. Then she got to talking about her 
husband, and about her relations up the river, and her relations 
down the river, and about how much better off they used to 
was, and how they didn't know but they'd made a mistake com- 
ing to our town, instead of letting well alone and so on and 
so on, till I was afeard I had made a mistake coming to her to 
find out what was going on in the town; but by and by she 
dropped on to pap and the murder, and then I was pretty will- 
ing to let her clatter right along. She told about me and Tom 
Sawyer finding the twelve thousand dollars (only she got it 
twenty) and all about pap and what a hard lot he was, and 
what a hard lot I was, and at last she got down to where I was 
murdered. I says: 

"Who done it? We've heard considerable about these go- 
ings-on down in Hookerville, but we don't know who 'twas that 
killed Huck Finn." 

"Well, I reckon there's a right smart chance of people here 
that 'd like to know who killed him. Some think old Finn done 
it himself." 

"No is that so?" 

"Most everybody thought it at first. He'll never know how 
nigh he come to getting lynched. But before night they changed 
around and judged it was done by a runaway nigger named 

"Why he" 

I stopped. I reckoned I better keep still. She run on, and 
never noticed I had put in at all: 


"The nigger run off the very night Huck Finn was killed. 
So there's a reward out for him three hundred dollars. And 
there's a reward out for old Finn, too two hundred dollars. 
You see, he come to town the morning after the murder, and 
told about it, and was out with 'em on the ferryboat hunt, and 
right away after he up and left. Before night they wanted to 
lynch him, but he was gone, you see. Well, next day they found 
out the nigger was gone; they found out he hadn't ben seen 
sence ten o'clock the night the murder was done. So then they 
put it on him, you see ; and while they was full of it, next day, 
back comes old Finn, and went boo-hooing to Judge Thatcher 
to get money to hunt for the nigger all over Illinois with. The 
judge gave him some, and that evening he got drunk, and was 
around till after midnight with a couple of mighty hard-looking 
strangers, and then went off with them. Well, he hain't come 
back sence, and they ain't looking for him back till this thing 
blows over a little, for people thinks now that he killed his boy 
and fixed things so folks would think robbers done it, and then 
he'd get Huck's money without having to bother a long time 
with a lawsuit. People do say he warn't any too good to do it. 
Oh, he's sly, I reckon. If he don't come back for a year he'll be 
all right. You can't prove anything on him, you know; every- 
thing will be quieted down then, and he'll walk in Huck's 
money as easy as nothing." 

"Yes, I reckon so, 'm. I don't see nothing in the way of it. 
Has everybody quit thinking the nigger done it?" 

"Oh, no, not everybody. A good many think he done it. But 
they'll get the nigger pretty soon now, and maybe they can 
scare it out of him." 

"Why, are they after him yet?" 

"Well, you're innocent, ain't you! Does three hundred dol- 
lars lay around every day for people to pick up? Some folks 
think the nigger ain't far from here. I'm one of them but I 
hain't talked it around. A few days ago I was talking with an 


old couple that lives next door in the log shanty, and they hap- 
pened to say hardly anybody ever goes to that island over yonder 
that they call Jackson's Island. Don't anybody live there? says 
I. No, nobody, says they. I didn't say any more, but I done 
some thinking. I was pretty near certain I'd seen smoke 
over there, about the head of the island, a day or two before 
that, so I says to myself, like as not that nigger's hiding over 
there; anyway, says I, it's worth the trouble to give the place 
a hunt. I hain't seen any smoke sence, so I reckon maybe he's 
gone, if it was him; but husband's going over to see him and 
another man. He was gone up the river; but he got back to-day, 
and I told him as soon as he got here two hours ago." 

I had got so uneasy I couldn't set still. I had to do something 
with my hands ; so I took up a needle off of the table and went 
to threading it. My hands shook, and I was making a bad job 
of it. When the woman stopped talking I looked up, and she 
was looking at me pretty curious and smiling a little. I put 
down the needle and thread, and let on to be interested and I 
was, too and says: 

"Three hundred dollars is a power of money. I wish my 
mother could get it. Is your husband going over there to- 

"Oh, yes. He went up-town with the man I was telling you 
of, to get a boat and see if they could borrow another gun. 
They'll go over after midnight." 

"Couldn't they see better if they was to wait till daytime?" 

"Yes. And couldn't the nigger see better, too? After mid- 
night he'll likely be asleep, and they can slip around through 
the woods and hunt up his camp-fire all the better for the dark, 
if he's got one." 

"I didn't think of that." 

The woman kept looking at me pretty curious, and I didn't 
feel a bit comfortable. Pretty soon she says : 

"What did you say your name was, honey?" 


"M Mary Williams." 

Somehow it didn't seem to me that I said it was Mary before, 
so I didn't look up seemed to me I said it was Sarah ; so I felt 
sort of cornered, and was afeard maybe I was looking it, too. 
I wished the woman would say something more ; the longer she 
set still the uneasier I was. But now she says: 

"Honey, I thought you said it was Sarah when you first 
come in?" 

"Oh, yes'm, I did. Sarah Mary Williams. Sarah's my first 
name. Some calls me Sarah, some calls me Mary." 

"Oh, that's the way of it?" 


I was feeling better then, but I wished I was out of there, 
anyway. I couldn't look up yet. 

Well, the woman fell to talking about how hard times was, 
and how poor they had to live, and how the rats was as free as 
if they owned the place, and so forth and so on, and then I got 
easy again. She was right about the rats. You'd see one stick his 
nose out of a hole in the corner every little while. She said she 
had to have tilings handy to throw at them when she was alone, 
or they wouldn't give her no peace. She showed me a bar of lead 
twisted up into a knot, and said she was a good shot with it 
generly, but she'd wrenched her arm a day or two ago, and 
didn't know whether she could throw true now. But she watched 
for a chance, and directly banged away at a rat ; but she missed 
him wide, and said, "Ouch!" it hurt her arm so. Then she told 
me to try for the next one. I wanted to be getting away before 
the old man got back, but of course I didn't let on. I got the 
thing, and the first rat that showed his nose I let drive, and if 
he'd 'a' stayed where he was he'd 'a' been a tolerable sick rat. 
She said that was first-rate, and she reckoned I would hive 
the next one. She went and got the lump of lead and fetched it 
back, and brought along a hank of yarn which she wanted me 
to help her with. I held up my two hands and she put the hank 


over them, and went on talking about her arm and her hus- 
band's matters. But she broke off to say: 

"Keep your eye on the rats. You better have the lead in your 
lap, handy." 

So she dropped the lump into my lap just at that moment, 
and I clapped my legs together on it and she went on talking. 
But only about a minute. Then she took off the hank and looked 
me straight in the face, and very pleasant, and says : 

"Come, now, what's your real name?" 

"Wh-hat, mum?" 

"What's your real name? Is it Bill, or Tom, or Bob? or 
what is it?" 

I reckon I shook like a leaf, and I didn't know hardly what 
to do. But I says : 

"Please to don't poke fun at a poor girl like me, mum. If 
I'm in the way here, I'll " 

"No, you won't. Set down and stay where you are. I ain't 
going to hurt you, and I ain't going to tell on you, nuther. You 
just tell me your secret, and trust me. I'll keep it; and, what's 
more, I'll help you. So'll my old man if you want him to. You 
see, you're a runaway 'prentice, that's all. It ain't anything. 
There ain't no harm in it. You've been treated bad, and you 
made up your mind to cut. Bless you, child, I wouldn't tell 
on you. Tell me all about it now, that's a good boy." 

So I said it wouldn't be no use to try to play it any longer, 
and I would just make a clean breast and tell her everything, 
but she mustn't go back on her promise. Then I told her my 
father and mother was dead, and the law had bound me out to 
a mean old farmer in the country thirty mile back from the 
river, and he treated me so bad I couldn't stand it no longer; 
he went away to be gone a couple of days, and so I took my 
chance and stole some of his daughter's old clothes and cleared 
out, and I had been three nights coming the thirty miles. I 
traveled nights, and hid daytimes and slept, and the bag of 


bread and meat I carried from home lasted me all the way, and 
I had a-plenty. I said I believed my uncle Abner Moore would 
take care of me, and so that was why I struck out for this town 
of Goshen. 

"Goshen, child? This ain't Goshen. This is St. Petersburg. 
Goshen's ten mile further up the river. Who told you this was 

"Why, a man I met at daybreak this morning, just as I was 
going to turn into the woods for my regular sleep. He told me 
when the roads forked I must take the right hand, and five mile 
would fetch me to Goshen." 

"He was drunk, I reckon. He told you just exactly wrong." 

"Well, he did act like he was drunk, but it ain't no matter 
now. I got to be moving along. I'll fetch Goshen before day- 

"Hold on a minute. I'll put you up a snack to eat. You 
might want it." 

So she put me up a snack, and says : 

"Say, when a cow's laying down, which end of her gets up 
first? Answer up prompt now don't stop to study over it. 
Which end gets up first?" 

"The hind end, mum," 

"Well, then, ahorse?" 

"The for-rard end, mum." 

"Which side of a tree does the moss grow on?" 

"North side." 

"If fifteen cows is browsing on a hillside, how many of them 
eats with their heads pointed the same direction?" 

"The whole fifteen, mum." 

"Well, I reckon you have lived in the country. I thought 
maybe you was trying to hocus me again. What's your real 
name, now?" 

"George Peters, mum." 

"Well, try to remember it, George. Don't forget and tell me 


it's Elexander before you go, and then get out by saying it's 
George Elexander when I catch you. And don't go about 
women in that old calico. You do a girl tolerable poor, but you 
might fool men, maybe. Bless you, child, when you set out to 
thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle 
up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's 
the way a woman most always does, but a man always does 
t'other way. And when you throw at a rat or anything, hitch 
yourself up a-tiptoe and fetch your hand up over your head as 
awkward as you can, and miss your rat about six or seven foot. 
Throw stiff-armed from the shoulder, like there was a pivot 
there for it to turn on, like a girl ; not from the wrist and elbow, 
with your arm out to one side, like a boy. And, mind you, when 
a girl tries to catch anything in her lap she throws her knees 
apart ; she don't clap them together, the way you did when you 
catched the lump of lead. Why, I spotted you for* a boy when 
you was threading the needle ; and I contrived the other things 
just to make certain. Now trot along to your uncle, Sarah 
Mary Williams George Elexander Peters, and if you get into 
trouble you send word to Mrs. Judith Loftus, which is me, and 
I'll do what I can to get you out of it. Keep the river road all 
the way, and next time you tramp take shoes and socks with 
you. The river road's a rocky one, and your feet '11 be in a con- 
dition when you get to Goshen, I reckon." 

I went up the bank about fifty yards, and then I doubled on 
my tracks and slipped back to where my canoe was, a good 
piece below the house. I jumped in and was off in a hurry. I 
went up-stream far enough to make the head of the island, and 
then started across. I took off the sun-bonnet, for I didn't want 
no blinders on then. When I was about the middle I heard the 
clock begin to strike, so I stops and listens; the sound come 
faint over the water but clear eleven. When I struck the head 
of the island I never waited to blow, though I was most winded, 


but I shoved right into the timber where my old camp used to 
be, and started a good fire there on a high arid dry spot. 

Then I jumped in the canoe and dug out for our place, a 
mile and a half below, as hard as I could go. I landed, arid 
slopped through the timber arid up the ridge and into the cav- 
ern. There Jim laid, sound asleep on the ground. I roused him 
out and says: 

"Git up and hump yourself, Jim! There ain't a minute to 
lose. They're after us!" 

Jim never asked no questions, he never said a word ; but the 
way he worked for the next half an hour showed about how he 
was scared. By that time everything we had in the world was 
on our raft, and she was ready to be shoved out from the willow 
cove where she was hid. We put out the camp-fire at the cavern 
the first thing, and didn't show a candle outside after that. 

I took the canoe out from the shore a little piece, and took a 
look ; but if there was a boat around I couldn't see it, for stars 
and shadows ain't good to see by. Then we got out the raft and 
slipped along down in the shade, past the foot of the island 
dead still never saying a word. 



T MUST 'a' been close on to one o'clock when" we got below 
the island at last, and the raft did seem to go mighty slow. If 
a boat was to come along we was going to take to the canoe and 
break for the Illinois shore ; and it was well a boat didn't come, 
for we hadn't ever thought to put the gun in the canoe, or a 
fishing-line, or anything to eat. We was in ruther too much of 
a sweat to think of so many things. It warn't good judgment 
to put everything on the raft. 

If the men went to the island I just expect they found the 
camp-fire I built, and watched it all night for Jim to come. 
Anyways, they stayed away from us, and if my building the 
fire never fooled them it warn't no fault of mine. I played it as 
low down on them as I could. 

When the first streak of day began to show we tied up to a 
towhead in a big bend on the Illinois side, and hacked off cot- 
tonwood branches with the hatchet, and covered up the raft 
with them so she looked like there had been a cave-in in the 
bank there. A towhead is a sand-bar that has cottonwoods on 
it as thick as harrow-teeth. 



We had mountains on the Missouri shore and heavy timber 
on the Illinois side, and the channel was down the Missouri 
shore at that place, so we warn't afraid of anybody running 
across us. We laid there all day, and watched the rafts and 
steamboats spin down the Missouri shore, and up-bound steam- 
boats fight the big river in the middle. I told Jim all about the 
time I had jabbering with that woman; and Jim said she was a 
smart one, and if she was to start after us herself she wouldn't 
set down and watch a camp-fire no, sir, she'd fetch a dog. 
Well, then, I said, why couldn't she tell her husband to fetch 
a dog? Jim said he bet she did think of it by the time the men 
was ready to start, and he believed they must 'a' gone up-town 
to get a dog and so they lost all that time, or else we wouldn't 
be here on a towhead sixteen or seventeen mile below the vil- 
lage no, indeedy, we would be in that same old town again. 
So I said I didn't care what was the reason they didn't get us 
as long as they didn't. 

When it was beginning to come on dark we poked our heads 
out of the cottonwood thicket, and looked up and down and 
across ; nothing in sight ; so Jim took up some of the top planks 
of the raft and built a snug wigwam to get under in blazing 
weather and rainy, and. to keep the things dry. Jim made a 
floor for the wigwam, and raised it a foot or more above the 
level of the raft, so now the blankets and all the traps was out 
of reach of steamboat waves. Right in the middle of the wig- 
wam we made a layer of dirt about five or six inches deep with 
a frame around it for to hold it to its place; this was to build 
a fire on in sloppy weather or chilly; the wigwam would keep 
it from being seen. We made an extra steering-oar, too, be- 
cause one of the others might get broke on a snag or something. 
We fixed up a short forked stick to hang the old lantern on, 
because we must always light the lantern whenever we see a 
steamboat coming down-stream, to keep from getting run over ; 
but we wouldn't have to light it for up-stream boats unless we 


see we was in what they call a "crossing"; for the river was 
pretty high yet, very low banks being still a little under water ; 
so up-bound boats didn't always run the channel, but hunted 
easy water. 

This second night we run between seven and eight hours, 
with a current that was making over four miles an hour. We 
catched fish and talked, and we took a swim now and then to 
keep off sleepiness. It was kind of solemn, drifting down the 
big, still river, laying on our backs looking up at the stars, and 
we didn't ever feel like talking aloud, and it warn't often that 
we laughed only a little kind of a low chuckle. We had mighty 
good weather as a general thing, and nothing ever happened to 
us at all that night, nor the next, nor the next. 

Every night we passed towns, some of them away up on 
black hillsides, nothing but just a shiny bed of lights; not a 
house could you see. The fifth night we passed St. Louis, and 
it was like the whole world lit up. In St. Petersburg they used 
to say there was twenty or thirty thousand people in St. Louis, 
but I never believed it till I see that wonderful spread of lights 
at two o'clock that still night. There warn't a sound there; 
everybody was asleep. 

Every night now I used to slip ashore toward ten o'clock 
at some little village, and buy ten or fifteen cents' worth of 
meal or bacon or other stuff to eat; and sometimes I lifted a 
chicken that warn't roosting comfortable, and took him along. 
Pap always said, take a chicken when you get a chance, because 
if you don't want him yourself you can easy find somebody 
that does, and a good deed ain't ever forgot. I never see pap 
when he didn't want the chicken himself, but that is what he 
used to say, anyway. 

Mornings before daylight I slipped into corn-fields and bor- 
rowed a watermelon, or a mushmelon, or a punkin, or some new 
corn, or things of that kind. Pap always said it warn't no harm 
to borrow things if you was meaning to pay them back some 


time; but the widow said it warn't anything but a soft name 
for stealing, and no decent body would do it. Jim said he reck- 
oned the widow was partly right and pap was partly right ; so 
the best way would be for us to pick out two or three things 
from the list and say we wouldn't borrow them any more 
then he reckoned it wouldn't be no harm to borrow the others. 
So we talked it over all one night, drifting along down the river, 
trying to make up our minds whether to drop the watermelons, 
or the cantelopes, or the mushmelons, or what. But toward day- 
light we got it all settled satisfactory, and concluded to drop 
crabapples and p'simmons. We warn't feeling just right before 
that, but it was all comfortable now. I was glad the way it 
come out, too, because crabapples ain't ever good, and the 
p'simmons wouldn't be ripe for two or three months yet. 

We shot a water-fowl now and then that got up too early 
in the morning or didn't go to bed early enough in the evening. 
Take it all round, we lived pretty high. 

The fifth night below St. Louis we had a big storm after 
midnight, with a power of thunder and lightning, and the rain 
poured down in a solid sheet. We stayed in the wigwam and 
let the raft take care of itself. When the lightning glared out 
we could see a big straight river ahead, and high rocky bluffs 
on both sides. By and by says I, "Hel-Zo, Jim, looky yonder!" 
It was a steamboat that had killed herself on a rock. We was 
drifting straight down for her. The lightning showed her very 
distinct. She was leaning over, with part of her upper deck 
above water, and you could see every little chimbly-guy clean 
and clear, and a chair by the big bell, with an old slouch hat 
hanging on the back of it, when the flashes come. 

Well, it being away in the night and stormy, and all so mys- 
terious-like, I felt just the way any other boy would 'a' felt 
when I seen that wreck laying there so mournful and lonesome 
in the middle of the river. I wanted to get aboard of her and 
sling around a little, and see what there was there. So I says: 


"Le's land on her, Jim." 

But Jim was dead against it at first. He says : 

"I doan' want to go fool'n' 'long er no wrack. We's doin' 
blame' well, en we better let blame' well alone, as de good book 
says. Like as not dey's a watchman on dat wrack." 

" Watchman your grandmother," I says; " there ain't noth- 
ing to watch but the texas and the pilot-house; and do you 
reckon anybody's going to resk his life for a texas and a pilot- 
house such a night as this, when it's likely to break up and wash 
off down the river any minute?" Jim couldn't say nothing to 
that, so he didn't try. "And besides," I says, "we might borrow 
something worth having out of the captain's stateroom. See- 
gars, / bet you and cost five cents apiece, solid cash. Steam- 
boat captains is always rich, and get sixty dollars a month, and 
they don't care a cent what a thing costs, you know, long as 
they want it. Stick a candle in your pocket; I can't rest, Jim, 
till we give her a rummaging. Do you reckon Tom Sawyer 
would ever go by this thing? Not for pie, he wouldn't. He'd 
call it an adventure that's what he'd call it; and he'd land on 
that wreck if it was his last act. And wouldn't he throw style 
into it? wouldn't he spread himself, nor nothing? Why, you'd 
think it was Christopher C'lumbus discovering Kingdom Come. 
I wish Tom Sawyer was here." 

Jim he grumbled a little, but give in. He said we mustn't 
talk any more than we could help, and then talk mighty slow. 
The lightning showed us the wreck again just in time, and we 
fetched the stabboard derrick, and made fast there. 

The deck was high out here. We went sneaking down the 
slope of it to labboard, in the dark, towards the texas, feeling 
our way slow with our feet, and spreading our hands out to 
fend off the guys, for it was so dark we couldn't see no sign of 
them. Pretty soon we struck the forward end of the skylight, 
and clumb on to it ; and the next step fetched us in front of the 
captain's door, which was open, and by Jimminy, away down 


through the texas-hall we see a light! and all in the same second 
we seem to hear low voices in yonder! 

Jim whispered and said he was feeling powerful sick, and 
told me to come along. I says all right, and was going to start 
for the raft; but just then I heard a voice wail out and say< 

"Oh, please don't, boys; I swear I won't ever tell!" 

Another voice said, pretty loud: 

"It's a lie, Jim Turner. You've acted this way before. You 
always want more'n your share of the truck, and you've always 
got it, too, because you've swore 't if you didn't you'd tell. But 
this time you've said it jest one time too many. You're the 
meanest, treacherousest hound in this country." 

By this time Jim was gone for the raft. I was just a-biling 
with curiosity; and I says to myself, Tom Sawyer wouldn't 
back out now, and so I won't either; I'm a-going to see what's 
going on here. So I dropped on my hands and knees in the little 
passage, and crept aft in the dark till there warn't but one state- 
room betwixt me and the cross-hall of the texas. Then in there 
I see a man stretched on the floor and tied hand and foot, and 
two men standing over him, and one of them had a dim lantern 
in his hand, and the other one had a pistol. This one kept point- 
ing the pistol at the man's head on the floor, and saying: 

"I'd like to! And I orter, too a mean skunk!" 

The man on the floor would shrivel up and say, "Oh, please 
don't, Bill; I hain't ever goin' to tell." 

And every time he said that the man with the lantern would 
laugh and say: 

" 'Deed you ain't! You never said no truer thing 'n that, 
you bet you." And once he said: "Hear him beg! and yit if we 
hadn't got the best of him and tied him he'd 'a' killed us both. 
And what for? Jist for noth'n'. Jist because we stood on our 
rights that's what for. But I lay you ain't a-goin' to threaten 
nobody any more, Jim Turner. Put up that pistol, Bill." 

Bill says: 


"I don't want to, Jake Packard. I'm for killin' him and 
didn't he kill old Hatfield jist the same way and don't he de- 
serve itr : 

"But I don't want him killed, and I've got my reasons for it." 

"Bless yo' heart for them words, Jake Packard! I'll never 
forgit you long's I live!" says the man on the floor, sort of 

Packard didn't take no notice of that, but hung up his lan- 
tern on a nail and started toward where I was, there in the dark, 
and motioned Bill to come. I crawfished as fast as I could about 
two yards, but the boat slanted so that I couldn't make very 
good time; so to keep from getting run over and catched I 
crawled into a stateroom on the upper side. The man came 
a-pawing along in the dark, and when Packard got to my state- 
room, he says: 

"Here come in here." 

And in he come, and Bill after him. But before they got in 
I was up in the upper berth, cornered, and sorry I come. Then 
they stood there, with their hands on the ledge of the berth, 
and talked. I couldn't see them, but I could tell where they was 
by the whisky they'd been having. I was glad I didn't drink 
whisky ; but it wouldn't made much difference anyway, because 
most of the time they couldn't 'a' treed me because I didn't 
breathe. I was too scared. And, besides, a body couldn't breathe 
and hear such talk. They talked low and earnest. Bill wanted 
to kill Turner. He says : 

"He's said he'll tell and he will. If we was to give both our 
shares to him now it wouldn't make no difference after the row 
and the way we've served him. Shore's you're born, he'll turn 
state's evidence; now you hear me. I'm for putting him out of 
his troubles." 

"So'm I," says Packard, very quiet. 

"Blame it, I'd sorter begun to think you wasn't. Well, then, 
that's all right. Let's go and do it." 


"Hold on a minute; I hain't had my say yit. You listen to 
me. Shooting's good, but there's quieter ways if the thing's got 
to be done. But what I say is this: it ain't good sense to go 
court'n around after a halter if you can git at what you're up to 
in some way that's jist as good and at the same time don't bring 
you into no resks. Ain't that so?" 

"You bet it is. But how you goin' to manage it this time?" 

"Well, my idea is this: we'll rustle around and gather up 
whatever pickin's we've overlooked in the staterooms, and shove 
for shore and hide the truck. Then we'll wait. Now I say it ain't 
a-goin' to be more'n two hours befo' this wrack breaks up and 
washes off down the river. See? He'll be drownded, and won't 
have nobody to blame for it but his own self. I reckon that's a 
considerable sight better 'n killin' of him. I'm unfavorable to 
killin' a man as long as you can git aroun' it; it ain't good sense, 
it ain't good morals. Ain't I right?" 

"Yes, I reck'n you are. But s'pose she don't break up and 
wash off?" 

"Well, we can wait the two hours anyway and see, can't we?" 

"All right, then; come along." 

So they started, and I lit out, all in a cold sweat, and scram- 
bled forward. It was dark as pitch there ; but I said, in a kind 
of a coarse whisper, "Jim!" and he answered up, right at my 
elbow, with a sort of a moan, and I says : 

"Quick, Jim, it ain't no time for fooling around and moan- 
ing; there's a gang of murderers in yonder, and if we don't 
hunt up their boat and set her drifting down the river so these 
fellows can't get away from the wreck there's one of 'em going 
to be in a bad fix. But if we find their boat we can put all of 'em 
in a bad fix for the sheriff '11 get 'em. Quick hurry! I'll hunt 
the labboard side, you hunt the stabboard. You start at the 
raft, and" 

"Oh, my lordy, lordy! Raf? Dey ain' no raf no mo'; she don' 
broke loose en gone! en here we is!" 


ELL, I catched my breath and most fainted. Shut up on 
a wreck with such a gang as that ! But it warn't no time to be 
sentimentering. We'd got to find that boat now had to have 
it for ourselves. So we went a-quaking and shaking down the 
stabboard side, and slow work it was, too seemed a week be- 
fore we got to the stern. No sign of a boat. Jim said he didn't 
believe he could go any farther so scared he hadn't hardly any 
strength left, he said. But I said, come on, if we get left on this 
wreck we are in a fix, sure. So on we prowled again. We struck 
for the stern of the texas, and found it, and then scrabbled 
along forwards on the skylight, hanging on from shutter to 
shutter, for the edge of the skylight was in the water. When 
we got pretty close to the cross-hall door there was the skiff, 
sure enough! I could just barely see her. I felt ever so thank- 
ful. In another second I would 'a' been aboard of her, but just 
then the door opened. One of the men stuck his head out only 
about a couple of foot from me, and I thought I was gone ; but 
he jerked it in again, and says: 

"Heave that blame lantern out o' sight, Bill!" 

He flung a bag of something into the boat, and then got in 



himself and set down. It was Packard. Then Bill he come out 
and got in. Packard says, in a low voice : 

" All ready shove off!" 

I couldn't hardly hang on to the shutters, I was so weak. 
But Bill says : 

"Hold on 'd you go through him?" 

"No. Didn't you?" 

"No. So he's got his share o' the cash yet." 

"Well, then, come along; no use to take truck and leave 

"Say, won't he suspicion what we're up to?" 

"Maybe he won't. But we got to have it anyway. Come 

So they got out and went in. 

The door slammed to because it was on the careened side; 
and in a half second I was in the boat, and Jim come tumbling 
after me. I out with my knife and cut the rope, and away we 

We didn't touch an oar, and we didn't speak nor whisper, 
nor hardly even breathe. We went gliding swift along, dead 
silent, past the tip of the paddle-box, and past the stern; then 
in a second or two more we was a hundred yards below the 
wreck, and the darkness soaked her up, every last sign of her, 
and we was safe, and knowed it. 

When we was three or four hundred yards downstream we 
see the lantern show like a little spark at the texas door for a 
second, and we knowed by that that the rascals had missed their 
boat, and was beginning to understand that they was in just 
as much trouble now as Jim Turner was. 

Then Jim manned the oars, and we took out after our raft. 
Now was the first time that I begun to worry about the men 
I reckon I hadn't had time to before. I begun to think how 
dreadful it was, even for murderers, to be in such a fix. I says 
to myself, there ain't no telling but I might come to be a mur- 


derer myself yet, and then how would I like it? So says I to 

"The first light we see we'll land a hundred yards below it 
or above it, in a place where it's a good hiding-place for you 
and the skiff, and then I'll go and fix up some kind of a yarn, 
and get somebody to go for that gang and get them out of their 
scrape, so they can be hung when their time comes." 

But that idea was a failure; for pretty soon it begun to 
storm again, and this time worse than ever. The rain poured 
down, and never a light showed; everybody in bed I reckon. 
We boomed along down the river, watching for lights and 
watching for our raft. After a long time the rain let up, but 
the clouds stayed, and the lightning kept whimpering, and by 
and by a flash showed us a black thing ahead, floating, and we 
made for it. 

It was the raft, and mighty glad was we to get* aboard of it 
again. We seen a light now away down to the right, on shore. 
So I said I would go for it. The skiff was half full of plunder 
which that gang had stole there on the wreck. We hustled it 
on to the raft in a pile, and I told Jim to float along down, and 
show a light when he judged he had gone about two mile, and 
keep it burning till I come ; then I manned my oars and shoved 
for the light. As I got down towards it three or four more 
showed up on a hillside. It was a village. I closed in above the 
shore light, and laid on my oars and floated. As I went by I see 
it was a lantern hanging on the jackstaff of a double-hull 
ferryboat. I skimmed around for the watchman, a-wondering 
whereabouts he slept; and by and by I found him roosting 
on the bitts forward, with his head down between his knees. 
I gave his shoulder two or three little shoves, and begun to 

He stirred up in a kind of a startlish way ; but when he see 
it was only me he took a good gap and stretch, and then he says : 

"Hello, what's up? Don't cry, bub. What's the trouble?" 

[SEE PAGE 78] 

"My hands shook, and I was making a bad job 
of itr 


I says: 

"Pap, and mam, and sis, and " 

Then I broke down. He says : 

"Oh, dang it now, don't take on so, we all has to have our 
troubles, and this 'n '11 come out all right. What's the matter 
with 'em?" 

"They're they're are you the watchman of the boat?" 

"Yes," he says, kind of pretty-well-satisfied like. "I'm the 
captain and the owner and the mate and the pilot and watch- 
man and head deck-hand; and sometimes I'm the freight and 
passengers. I ain't as rich as old Jim Hornback, and I can't be 
so blame' generous and good to Tom, Dick, and Harry as what 
he is, and slam around money the way he does; but I've told 
him a many a time 't I wouldn't trade places with him; for, 
says I, a sailor's life's the life for me, and I'm derned if I'd live 
two miles out o' town, where there ain't nothing ever goin' on, 

not for all his spondulicks and as much more on top of it. Says 

I broke in and says : 

"They're in an awful peck of trouble, and " 

"Who is?" 

"Why, pap and mam and sis and Miss Hooker; and if you'd 
take your ferryboat and go up there " 

"Up where? Where are they?" 

"On the wreck." 

"What wreck?" 

"Why, there ain't but one." 

"What! you don't mean the Walter Scott?" 


"Good land! what are they doin' there, for gracious sakes?" 

"Well, they didn't go there a-purpose." 

"I bet they didn't! Why, great goodness, there ain't no 
chance for 'em if they don't git off mighty quick! Why, how in 
the nation did they ever git into such a scrape?" 


"Easy enough. Miss Hooker was a-visiting up there to the 

"Yes, Booth's Landing go on." 

"She was a-visiting there at Booth's Landing, and just in 
the edge of the evening she started over with her nigger woman 
in the horse-ferry to stay all night at her friend's house, Miss 
What-you-may-call-her I disremember her name and they 
lost their steering oar, and swung around and went a-floating 
down, stern first, about two mile, and saddle-baggsed on the 
wreck, and the ferryman and the nigger woman and the horses 
was all lost, but Miss Hooker she made a grab and got aboard 
the wreck. Well, about an hour after dark we come along down 
in our trading-scow, and it was so dark we didn't notice the 
wreck till we was right on it ; and so we saddle-baggsed ; but all 
of us was saved but Bill Whipple and oh, he was the best 
cretur! I most wish 't it had been me, I do." 

"My George! It's the beatenest thing I ever struck. And 
then what did you all do?" 

"Well, we hollered and took on, but it's so wide there we 
couldn't make nobody hear. So pap said somebody got to get 
ashore and get help somehow. I was the only one that could 
swim, so I made a dash for it, and Miss Hooker she said if I 
didn't strike help sooner, come here and hunt up her uncle, and 
he'd fix the thing. I made the land about a mile below, and 
been fooling along ever since, trying to get people to do some- 
thing, but they said, 'What, in such a night and such a cur- 
rent? There ain't no sense in it; go for the steam-ferry.' Now 
if you'll go and " 

"By Jackson, I'd like to, and blame it, I don't know but I 
will; but who in the dingnation's a-going to pay for it? Do you 
reckon your pap " 

"Why that's all right. Miss Hooker she tole me, particular, 
that her uncle Hornback " 

"Great guns! is he her uncle? Looky here, you break for that 


light over yonder-way, and turn out west when you git there, 
and about a quarter of a mile out you'll come to the tavern ; tell 
'em to dart you out to Jim Hornback's, and he'll foot the bill. 
And don't you fool around any, because he'll want to know 
the news. Tell him I'll have his niece all safe before he can get 
to town. Hump yourself, now; I'm a-going up around the 
corner here to roust out my engineer." 

I struck for the light, but as soon as he turned the corner I 
went back and got into my skiff and bailed her out, and then 
pulled up shore in the easy water about six hundred yards, and 
tucked myself in among some wood-boats; for I couldn't rest 
easy till I could see the ferryboat start. But take it all around, 
I was feeling ruther comfortable on accounts of taking all this 
trouble for that gang, for not many would 'a' done it. I wished 
the widow knowed about it. I judged she would be proud of me 
for helping these rapscallions, because rapscallions and dead- 
beats is the kind the widow and good people takes the most 
interest in. 

Well, before long here comes the wreck, dim and dusky, 
sliding along down. A kind of cold shiver went through me, 
and then I struck out for her. She was very deep, and I see 
in a minute there warn't much chance for anybody being alive 
in her. I pulled all around her and hollered a little, but there 
wasn't any answer ; all dead still. I felt a little bit heavy-hearted 
about the gang, but not much, for I reckoned if they could stand 
it I could. 

Then here comes the ferryboat; so I shoved for the middle 
of the river on a long down-stream slant; and when I judged I 
was out of eye-reach I laid on my oars, and looked back and 
see her go and smell around the wreck for Miss Hooker's re- 
mainders, because the captain would know her uncle Hornback 
would want them; and pretty soon the ferryboat give it up 
and went for the shore, and I laid into my work and went 
a-booming down the river. 


It did seem a powerful long time before Jim's light showed 
up ; and when it did show it looked like it was a thousand mile 
off. By the time I -got there the sky was beginning to get a 
little gray in the east; so we struck for an island, and hid the 
raft, and sunk the skiff, and turned in and slept like dead 




AND BY, when we got up, we turned over the truck 
the gang had stole off of the wreck, and found boots, and 
blankets, and clothes, and all sorts of other things, and a lot 
of books, and a spy-glass, and three boxes of seegars. We 
hadn't ever been this rich before in neither of our lives. The 
seegars was prime. We laid off all the afternoon in the woods 
talking, and me reading the books, and having a general good 
time. I told Jim all about what happened inside the wreck 
and at the ferryboat, and I said these kinds of things was 
adventures; but he said he didn't want no more adventures. 
He said that when I went in the texas and he crawled back to 
get on the raft and found her gone he nearly died, because he 
judged it was all up with him anyway it could be fixed; for 
if he didn't get saved he would get drownded ; and if he did get 
saved, whoever saved him would send him back home so as to 
get the reward, and then Miss Watson would sell him South, 
sure. Well, he was right ; he was most always right ; he had an 
uncommon level head for a nigger. 

I read considerable to Jim about kings and dukes and earls 
and such, and how gaudy they dressed, and how much style 
they put on, and called each other your majesty, and your 
grace, and your lordship, and so on, 'stead of mister; and Jim's 
eyes bugged out, and he was interested. He says: 



"I didn' know dey was so many un um. I hain't hearn 'bout 
none un um, skasely, but ole King Sollermun, onless you 
counts dem kings dat's in a pack er k'yards. How much do a 
king git?" 

"Get?" I says; "why, they get a thousand dollars a month 
if they want it; they can have just as much as they want; 
.everything belongs to them." 

"Ain J dat gay? En what dey got to do, Huck?" 

"They don't do nothing! Why, how you talk! They just set 

"No; is dat so?" 

"Of course it is. They just set around except, maybe, when 
there's a war; then they go to the war. But other times they 
just lazy around; or go hawking just hawking and sp 
Sh! d'you hear a noise?" 

We skipped out and looked; but it warn't nothing but the 
flutter of a steamboat's wheel away down, coming around the 
point; so we come back. 

"Yes," says I, "and other times, when things is dull, they 
fuss with the parlyment; and if everybody don't go just so 
he whacks their heads off. But mostly they hang round the 

"Roun' de which?" 


"What's de harem?" 

"The place where he keeps his wives. Don't you know about 
the harem? Solomon had one; he had about a million wives." 

"Why, yes, dat's so; I I'd done forgot it. A harem's a 
bo'd'n-house, I reck'n. Mos' likely dey has rackety times in de 
nussery. En I reck'n de wives quarrels considable; en dat 
'crease de racket. Yit dey say Sollermun de wises' man dat ever 
live'. I doan' take no stock in dat. Bekase why: would a wise 
man want to live in de raids' er sich a blim-blammin' all de 
time? No 'deed he wouldn't. A wise man 'ud take en buiF 


a biler-factry; en den he could shet down de biler-factry when 
he want to res'." 

6 'Well, but he was the wisest man, anyway; because the 
widow she told me so, her own self." 

"I doan' k'yer what de widder say, he warn't no wise man 
nuther. He had some er de dad-fetchedes' ways I ever see. Does 
you know 'bout dat chile dat he 'uz gwyne to chop in two?" 

"Yes, the widow told me all about it." 

"Well, den! Warn' dat de beatenes' notion in de worl'? You 
jes' take en look at it a minute. Dah's de stump, dah dat's 
one er de women; heah's you dat's de yuther one; I's Soller- 
mun; en dish yer dollar bill's de chile. Bofe un you claims it. 
What does I do? Does I shin aroun' mongs' de neighbors en 
fine out which un you de bill do b'long to, en ban' it over to de 
right one, all safe en soun', de way dat anybody dat had any 
gumption would? No; I take en whack de bill in two, en give 
half un it to you, en de yuther half to de yuther woman. Dat's 
de way Sollermun was gwyne to do wid de chile. Now I want 
to ast you: what's de use er dat half a bill? can't buy noth'n 
wid it. En what use is a half a chile? I wouldn' give a dern 
for a million un um." 

"But hang it, Jim, you've clean missed the point blame it, 
you've missed it a thousand mile." 

"Who? Me? Go 'long. Doan' talk to me 'bout yo' pints. 
I reck'n I knows sense when I sees it; en dey ain' no sense in 
sich doin's as dat. De 'spute warn't 'bout a half a chile, de 
'spute was 'bout a whole chile; en de man dat think he kin 
settle a 'spute 'bout a whole chile wid a half a chile doan' know 
enough to come in out'n de rain. Doan' talk to me 'bout Soller- 
mun, Huck, I knows him by de back." 

"But I tell you you don't get the point." 

"Blame de point? I reck'n I knows what I knows. En 
mine you, de real pint is down furder it's down deeper. It 
lays in de way Sollermun was raised. You take a man dat's got 


on'y one or tw6 chillen; is dat man gwyne to be waseful o' 
chillen? No, he ain't; he can't 'ford it. He know how to value 
'em. But you take a man dat's got 'bout five million chillen 
runnin' roun' de house, en it's diffunt. He as soon chop a chile 
in two as a cat. Dey's plenty mo'. A chile er two, mo' er less 
warn't no consekens to Sollermun, dad fetch him!" 

I never see such a nigger. If he got a notion in his head 
once, there warn't no getting it out again. He was the most 
down on Solomon of any nigger I ever see. So I went to talking 
about other kings, and let Solomon slide. I told about Louis 
Sixteenth that got his head cut off in France long time ago; 
and about his little boy the dolphin, that would 'a' been a 
king, but they took and shut him up in jail, and some say he 
died there. 

"Po' little chap." 

"But some says he got out and got away, and come to 

"Dat's good! But he'll be pooty lonesome dey ain' no 
kings here, is dey, Huck?" 


"Den he cain't git no situation. What he gwyne to do?" 

"Well, I don't know. Some of them gets on the police, and 
some of them learns people how to talk French." 

"Why, Huck, doan' de French people talk de same way 
we does?" 

"No, Jim; you couldn't understand a word they said not a 
single word." 

"Well, now, I be ding-busted! How do dat come?" 

ff l don't know; but it's so. I got some of their jabber out of 
a book. S'pose a man was to come to you and say Polly- voo- 
franzy what would you think?" 

"I wouldn' think nuffn; I'd take en bust him over de head 
dat is, if he warn't white. I wouldn't 'low no nigger to call 
me dat." 


"Shucks, it ain't calling you anything. It's only saying, do 
you know how to talk French?" 

"Well, den, why couldn't he say it?" 

"Why, he is a-saying it. That's a Frenchman's way of say- 
ing it." 

"Well, it's a blame ridicklous way, en I doan' want to hear 
no mo' 'bout it. Dey ain' no sense in it." 

"Looky here, Jim; does a cat talk like we do?" 

"No, a cat don't." 
' "Well, does a cow?" 

"No, a cow don't, nuther." 
1 "Does a cat talk like a cow, or a cow talk like a cat?" 

"No, dey don't." 

"It's natural and right for 'em to talk different from each 
other, ain't it?" 


"And ain't it natural and right for a cat and a cow to talk 
different from us?" 

"Why, mos' sholy it is." 

"Well, then, why ain't it natural and right for a Frenchman 
to talk different from us? You answer me that." 

"Is a cat a man, Huck?" 


"Well, den, dey ain't no sense in a cat talkin' like a man. 
Is a cow a man? er is a cow a cat?" 

"No, she ain't either of them." 

"Well, den, she ain't got no business to talk like either one 
er the yuther of 'em. Is a Frenchman a man?" 


"Well, den! Dad blame it, why doan' he talk like a man? 
You answer me dot!" 

I see it warn't no use wasting words you can't learn a 
nigger to argue. So I quit. 


E JUDGED that three nights more would fetch us 
to Cairo, at the bottom of Illinois, where the Ohio River comes 
in, and that was what we was after. We would sell the raft 
and get on a steamboat and go way up the Ohio amongst the 
free states, and then be out of trouble. 

Well, the second night a fog begun to come on, and we 
made for a towhead to tie to, for it wouldn't do to try to run 
in a fog; but when I paddled ahead in the canoe, with the line 
to make fast, there warn't anything but little saplings to tie 
to. I passed the line around one of them right on the edge of 
the cut bank, but there was a stiff current, and the raft come 
booming down so lively she tore it out by the roots and away 
she went. I see the fog closing down, and it made me so sick 
and scared I couldn't budge for most a half a minute it seemed 
to me and then there warn't no raft in sight ; you couldn't see 
twenty yards. I jumped into the canoe and run back to the 
stern, and grabbed the paddle and set her back a stroke. But 
she didn't come. I was in such a hurry I hadn't untied her, 
I got up and tried to untie her, but I was so excited my hands 
shook so I couldn't hardly do anything with them. 



As soon as I got started I took out after the raft, hot and 
heavy, right down the towhead. That was all right as far as 
it went, but the towhead warn't sixty yards long, and the 
minute I flew by the foot of it I shot out into the solid white 
fog, and hadn't no more idea which way I was going than 
a dead man. 

Thinks I, it won't do to paddle; first I know I'll run into the 
bank or a towhead or something; I got to set still and float, and 
yet it's mighty fidgety business to have to hold your hands 
still at such a time. I whooped and listened. Away down there 
somewheres I hears a small whoop, and up comes my spirits. 
I went tearing after it, listening sharp to hear it again. The 
next time it come I see I warn't heading for it, but heading 
away to the right of it. And the next time I was heading away 
to the left of it and not gaining on it much either, for I 
was flying around, this way and that and t'other, but it was 
going straight ahead all the time. 

I did wish the fool would think to beat a tin pan, and beat 
it all the time, but he never did, and it was the still places be- 
tween the whoops that was making the trouble for me. Well, 
I fought along, and directly I hears the whoop behind me. I 
was tangled good now. That was somebody else's whoop, or 
else I was turned around. 

I throwed the paddle down. I heard the whoop again; it 
was behind me yet, but a different place; it kept coming, and 
kept changing its place, and I kept answering, till by and by 
it was in front of me again, and I knowed the current had 
swung the canoe's head down-stream, and I was all right if 
that was Jim and not some other raftsman hollering. I couldn't 
tell nothing about voices in a fog, for nothing don't look natural 
nor sound natural in a fog. 

The whooping went on, and in about a minute I come a- 
booming down on a cut bank with smoky ghosts of big trees 
on it, and the current throwed me off to the left and shot by, 


amongst a lot of snags that fairly roared, the current was tear 
ing by them so swift. 

In another second or two it was solid white and still again 
I set perfectly still then, listening to my heart thump, and ] 
reckon I didn't draw a breath while it thumped a hundred. 

I just give up then. I knowed what the matter was. Thai 
cut bank was an island, and Jim had gone down t'other side 
of it. It warn't no towhead that you could float by in ten min- 
utes. It had the big timber of a regular island; it might be five 
or six miles long and more than half a mile wide. 

I kept quiet, with my ears cocked, about fifteen minutes, ] 
reckon. I was floating along, of course, four or five miles an 
hour; but you don't ever think of that. No, you feel like you 
are laying dead still on the water; and if a little glimpse of a 
snag slips by you don't think to yourself how fast you're going, 
but you catch your breath and think, my! how that snag's 
tearing along. If you think it ain't dismal and lonesome out in 
a fog that way by yourself in the night, you try it once 
you'll see. 

Next, for about a half an hour, I whoops now and then; at 
last I hears the answer a long ways off, and tries to follow it, 
but I couldn't do it, and directly I judged I'd got into a nest 
of towheads, for I had little dim glimpses of them on both 
sides of rne sometimes just a narrow channel between, and 
some that I couldn't see I knowed was there because I'd hear 
the wash of the current against the old dead brush arid trash 
that hung over the banks. Well, I warn't long losing the 
whoops down amongst the towheads ; and I only tried to chase 
them a little while, anyway, because it was worse than chasing 
a Jack-o'-lantern. You never knowed a sound dodge around 
so, and swap places so quick and so much. 

I had to claw away from the bank pretty lively four or five 
times, to keep from knocking the islands out of the river; 
and so I judged the raft must be butting into the bank every 


now and then, or else it would get further ahead and clear out 
of hearing it was floating a little faster than what I was. 

Well, I seemed to be in the open river again by and by, but 
I couldn't hear no sign of a whoop nowheres. I reckoned Jim 
had fetched up on a snag, maybe, and it was all up with him. 
I was good and tired, so I laid down in the canoe and said I 
wouldn't bother no more. I didn't want to go to sleep, of 
course; but I was so sleepy I couldn't help it; so I thought I 
would take jest one little cat-nap. 

But I reckon it was more than a cat-nap, for when I waked 
up the stars was shining bright, the fog was all gone, and I 
was spinning down a big bend stern first. First I didn't know 
where I was; I thought I was dreaming; arid when things 
began to come back to me they seemed to come up dim out 
of last week. 

It was a monstrous big river here, with the tallest and the 
thickest kind of timber on both banks; just a solid wall, as 
well as I could see by the stars. I looked away down-stream, 
and seen a black speck on the water. 1 took after it; but when 
I got to it it warn't nothing but a couple of saw-logs made 
fast together. Then I see another speck, and chased that ; then 
another, and this time I was right. It was the raft. 

When I got to it Jim was setting there with his head down 
between his knees, asleep, with his right arm hanging over 
the steering-oar. The other oar was smashed off, and the raft 
was littered up with leaves and branches and dirt. So she'd 
had a rough time. 

I made fast and laid down under Jim's nose on the raft, and 
began to gap, and stretch my fists out against Jim, and says: 

"Hello, Jim, have I been asleep? Why didn't you stir me 

"Goodness gracious, is dat you, Huck? En you ain' dead 
you ain' drownded you's back ag'in? It's too good for true, 
honey, it's too good for true. Lemme look at you chile, lemme 


feel o' you. Np, you ain' dead! you's back ag'in, 'live en soun', 
jis de same ole Huck de same ole Huck, thanks to good- 

"What's the matter with you, Jim? You been a-drinking?" 

"Drinkin'? Has I ben a-drinkin'? Has I had a chance to be 

"Well, then, what makes you talk so wild?" 

"How does I talk wild?" 

"How? Why, hain't you been talking about my coming back, 
and all that stuff, as if I'd been gone away?" 

"Huck Huck Finn, you look me in de eye; look me in de 
eye. Hain't you ben gone away?" 

"Gone away? Why, what in the nation do you mean? I hain't 
been gone anywheres. Where would I go to?" 

"Well, looky here, boss, dey's sumfn wrong, dey is. Is I 
me, or who is I? Is I heah, or whah is I? Now dat's what I 
wants to know." 

"Well, I think you're here, plain enough, but I think you're 
a tangle-headed old fool, Jim." 

"I is, is I? Well, you answer me dis: Didn't you tote out de 
line in de canoe for to make fas' to de towhead?" 

"No, I didn't. What towhead? I hain't seen no towhead." 

"You hain't seen no towhead? Looky here, didn't de line 
pull loose en de raf ' go a-hummin' down de river, en leave you 
en de canoe behine in de fog?" 

"What fog?" 

"Why, de fog! de fog dat's been aroun' all night. En 
didn't you whoop, en didn't I whoop, tell we got mix' up in 
de islands en one un us got los' en t'other one was jis' as good 
as los', 'kase he didn' know whah he wuz? En didn't I bust up 
again a lot er dem islands en have a tumble time en mos' git 
drownded? Now ain' dat so, boss ain't it so? You answer me 

"Well, this is too many for me, Jim. I hain't seen no fog, nor 


no islands, nor no troubles, nor nothing. I been setting here 
talking with you all night till you went to sleep about ten 
minutes ago, and I reckon I done the same. You couldn't 'a' 
got drunk in that time, so of course you've been dreaming." 

"Dad fetch it, how is I gwyne to dream all dat in ten min- 

"Well, hang it all, you did dream it, because there didn't any 
of it happen." 

"But, Huck, it's all jis' as plain to me as " 

"It don't make no difference how plain it is; there ain't 
nothing in it. I know, because I've been here all the time." 

Jim didn't say nothing for about five minutes, but set there 
studying over it. Then he says : 

"Well, den, I reck'n I did dream it, Huck; but dog my cats 
ef it ain't de powerfulest dream I ever see. En I hain't ever 
had no dream b'fo' dat's tired me like dis one." 

"Oh, well, that's all right, because a dream does tire a body 
like everything sometimes. But this one was a staving dream; 
tell me all about it, Jim." 

So Jim went to work and told me the whole thing right 
through, just as it happened, only he painted it up consider- 
able. Then he said he must start in and " 'terpret" it, because 
it was sent for a warning. He said the first towhead stood for 
a man that would try to do us some good, but the current was 
another man that would get us away from him. The whoops 
was warnings that would come to us every now and then, and 
if we didn't try hard to make out to understand them they'd 
just take us into bad luck, 'stead of keeping us out of it. The 
lot of towheads was troubles we was going to get into with 
quarrelsome people and all kinds of mean folks, but if we 
minded our business and didn't talk back and aggravate them, 
we would pull through and get out of the fog and into the big 
clear river, which was the free states, and wouldn't have no 
more trouble. 


It had clouded up pretty dark just after I got on to the raft, 
but it was clearing up again now. 

"Oh, well, that's all interpreted well enough as far as it 
goes, Jim," I says; "but what does these things stand for?" 

It was the leaves and rubbish on the raft and the smashed 
oar. You could see them first-rate now. 

Jim looked at the trash, and then looked at me, and back 
at the trash again. He had got the dream fixed so strong in 
his head that he couldn't seem to shake it loose and get the 
facts back into its place again right away. But when he did 
get the thing straightened around he looked at me steady with- 
out ever smiling, and says: 

"What do dey stan' for? I's gwyne to tell you. When I got 
all wore out wid work, en wid de callin' for you, en went to 
sleep, my heart wuz mos' broke bekase you wuz los', en I didn' 
k'yer no' mo' what become er me en de raf. En^when I wake 
up en fine you back ag'in, all safe en soun', de tears come, en 
I coud 'a' got down on my knees en kiss yo' foot, I's so thank- 
ful. En all you wuz thinkin' 'bout wuz how you could make a 
fool uv ole Jim wid a lie. Dat truck dah is trash; en trash is 
what people is dat puts dirt on de head er dey fren's en makes 
'em ashamed." 

Then he got up slow and walked to the wigwam, and went 
in there without saying anything but that. But that was enough* 
It made me feel so mean I could almost kissed his foot to get 
him to take it back. 

It was fifteen minutes before I could work myself up to go 
and humble myself to a nigger; but I done it, and I warn't ever 
sorry for it afterward, neither. I didn't do him no more mean 
tricks, and I wouldn't done that one if I'd V knowed it would 
make him feel that way. 


E SLEPT most all day, and started out at night, a 
little ways behind a monstrous long raft that was as long going 
by as a procession. She had four long sweeps at each end, so 
we judged she carried as many as thirty men, likely. She had 
five big wigwams aboard, wide apart, and an open camp-fire 
in the middle, and a tall flag-pole at each end. There was a 
power of style about her. It amounted to something being a 
raftsman on such a craft as that. 

We went drifting down into a big bend, and the night 
clouded up and got hot. The river was very wide, and was 
walled with solid timber on both sides ; you couldn't see a break 
in it hardly ever, or a light. We talked about Cairo, and won- 
dered whether we would know it when we got to it. I said 
likely we wouldn't, because I had heard say there warn't but 
about a dozen houses there, and if they didn't happen to have 
them lit up, how was we going to know we was passing a town? 
Jim said if the two big rivers joined together there, that would 
show. But I said maybe we might think we was passing the 
foot of an island and coming into the same old river again. 
That disturbed Jim and me too. So the question was, what 
to do? I said, paddle ashore the first time a light showed, and 
tell them pap was behind, coming along with a trading-scow, 

and was a green hand at the business, and wanted to know how 



far it was to Cairo. Jim thought it was a good idea, so we took 
a smoke on it and waited. 

There warn't nothing to do now but to look out sharp for 
the town, and not pass it without seeing it. He said he'd be 
mighty sure to see it, because he'd be a free man the minute he 
seen it, but if he missed it he'd be in a slave country again and 
no more show for freedom. Every little while he jumps up and 


But it warn't. It was Jack-o'-lanterns, or lightning-bugs ; so 
he set down again, and went to watching, same as before. Jim 
said it made him all over trembly and feverish to be so close 
to freedom. Well, I can tell you it made me all over trembly and 
feverish, too, to hear him, because I begun to get it through 
my head that he was most free and who was to blame for it? 
Why, me. I couldn't get that out of my conscience, no how 
nor no way. It got to troubling me so I couldn't rest ; I couldn't 
stay still in one place. It hadn't ever come home to me before, 
what this thing was that I was doing. But now it did; and it 
stayed with me, and scorched me more and more. I tried to 
make out to myself that / warn't to blame, because / didn't 
run Jim off from his rightful owner; but it warn't no use, con- 
science up and says, every time, "But you knowed he was run- 
ning for his freedom, and you could 'a' paddled ashore and told 
somebody." That was so I couldn't get around that no way. 
That was where it pinched. Conscience says to me, "What had 
poor Miss Watson done to you that you could see her nigger 
go off right under your eyes and never say one single word? 
What did that poor old woman do to you that you could treat 
her so mean? Why, she tried to learn you your book, she tried 
to learn you your manners, she tried to be good to you every 
way she knowed how. That's what she done." 

I got to feeling so mean and so miserable I most wished I 
was dead. I fidgeted up and down the raft, abusing myself to 


myself, and Jim was fidgeting up and down past me. We 
neither of us could keep still. Every time he danced around and 
says, "Dah's Cairo !" it went through me like a shot, and I 
thought if it was Cairo I reckoned I would die of miserableness. 

Jim talked out loud all the time while I was talking to my- 
self. He was saying how the first thing he would do when he 
got to a free state he would go to saving up money and never 
spend a single cent, and when he got enough he would buy his 
wife, which was owned on a farm close to where Miss Watson 
lived ; and then they would both work to buy the two children, 
and if their master wouldn't sell them, they'd get an Ab'litionist 
to go and steal them. 

It most froze me to hear such talk. He wouldn't ever dared 
to talk such talk in his life before. Just see what a diff erence 
it made in him the minute he judged he was about free. It was 
according to the old saying, "Give a nigger an inch and he'll 
take an ell." Thinks I, this is what comes of my not thinking. 
Here was this nigger, which I had as good as helped to run 
away, coming right out flat-footed and saying he would steal 
his children children that belonged to a man I didn't even 
know; a man that hadn't ever done me no harm. 

I was sorry to hear Jim say that, it was such a lowering of 
him. My conscience got to stirring me up hotter than ever, 
until at last I says to it, "Let up on me it ain't too late yet 
I'll paddle ashore at the first light and tell." I felt easy and 
happy and light as a feather right off. All my troubles was 
gone. I went to looking out sharp for a light, and sort of sing- 
ing to myself. By and by one showed. Jim sings out: 

"We's safe, Huck, w's safe! Jump up and crack yo' heels! 
Dat's de good old Cairo at las', I jis knows it!" 

I says: 

"I'll take the canoe and go and see, Jim. It mightn't be, you 

He jumped and got the canoe ready, and put his old coat 


in the bottom for me to set on, and give me the paddle ; and as 
I shoved off, he says: 

"Pooty soon I'll be a-shout'n' for joy, en I'll say, it's all 
on accounts o' Huck; I's a free man, en I couldn't ever ben free 
ef it hadn' ben for Huck ; Huck done it. Jim won't ever f orgit 
you, Huck; you's de bes' fren' Jim's ever had; en you's de only 
fren' ole Jim's got now." 

I was paddling off, all in a sweat to tell on him ; but when he 
says this, it seemed to kind of take the tuck all out of me. I 
went along slow then, and I warn't right down certain whether 
I was glad I started or whether I warn't. When I was fifty 
yards off, Jim says: 

"Dah you goes, de ole true Huck; de on'y white genlman 
dat ever kep' his promise to ole Jim." 

Well, I just felt sick. But I says, I got to do it I can't get 
out of it. Right then along comes a skiff with two men in it 
with guns, and they stopped and I stopped. One of them says: 

"What's that yonder?" 

"A piece of a raft," I says. 

"Do you belong on it?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Any men on it?" 

"Only one, sir." 

"Well, there's five niggers run off to-night up yonder above 
the head of the bend. Is your man white or black?" 

I didn't answer up prompt. I tried to, but the words wouldn't 
come. I tried for a second or two to brace up and out with it, 
but I warn't man enough hadn't the spunk of a rabbit. I see 
I was weakening; so I just give up trying, and up and says: 

"He's white." 

"I reckon we'll go and see for ourselves." 

"I wish you would," says I, "because it's pap that's there, 
and maybe you'd help me tow the raft ashore where the light 
is. He's sick and so is mam and Mary Ann." 


"Oh, the devil! we're in a hurry, boy. But I s'pose we've got 
to. Come, buckle to your paddle, and let's get along." 

I buckled to my paddle and they laid to their oars. When we 
had made a stroke or two, I says : 

"Pap '11 be mighty much obleeged to you, I can tell you. 
Everybody goes away when I want them to help me tow the 
raft ashore, and I can't do it by myself." 

"Well, that's infernal mean. Odd, too. Say, boy, what's the 
matter with your father?" 

"It's the a the well, it ain't anything much." 

They stopped pulling. It warn't but a mighty little ways 
to the raft now. One says : 

"Boy, that's a lie. What is the matter with your pap? Answer 
up square now, and it '11 be the better for you." 

"I will, sir, I will, honest but don't leave us, please. It's 
the the Gentlemen, if you'll only pull ahead, and let me 
heave you the headline, you won't have to come a-near the raft 
please do." 

"Set her back, John, set her back!" says one. They backed 
water. "Keep away, boy keep to looard. Confound it, I just 
expect the wind has blowed it to us. Your pap's got the small- 
pox, and you know it precious well. Why didn't you come out 
and say so? Do you want to spread it all over?" 

"Well," says I, a-blubbering, "I've told everybody before, 
and they just went away and left us." 

"Poor devil, there's something in that. We are right down 
sorry for you, but we well, hang it, we don't want the small- 
pox, you see. Look here, I'll tell you what to do. Don't you try 
to land by yourself, or you'll smash everything to pieces. You 
float along down about twenty miles, and you'll come to a town 
on the left-hand side of the river. It will be long after sun-up 
then, and when you ask for help you tell them your folks are 
all down with chills and fever. Don't be a fool again, and let 
people guess what is the matter. Now we're trying to do you a 


kindness; so you just put twenty miles between us, that's a 
good boy. It wouldn't do any good to land yonder where the 
light is it's only a wood-yard. Say, I reckon your father's 
poor, and I'm bound to say he's in pretty hard luck. Here, I'll 
put a twenty-dollar gold piece on this board, and you get it 
when it floats by. I feel mighty mean to leave you; but my 
kingdom! it won't do to fool with smallpox, don't you see?" 

"Hold on, Parker," says the man, "here's a twenty to put 
on the board for me. Good-by, boy ; you do as Mr. Parker told 
you, and you'll be all right." 

"That's so, my boy good-by, good-by. If you see any run- 
away niggers you get help and nab them, and you can make 
some money by it." 

"Good-by, sir," says I; "I won't let no runaway niggers 
get by me if I can help it." 

They went off and I got aboard the raft, feeling bad and low, 
because I knowed very well I had done wrong, and I see it 
warn't no use for me to try to learn to do right; a body that 
don't get started right when he's little ain't got no show when 
the pinch comes there ain't nothing to back him up and keep 
him to his work, and so he gets beat. Then I thought a minute, 
and says to myself, hold on ; s'pose you'd 'a' done right and give 
Jim up, would you felt better than what you do now? No, says 
I, I'd feel bad I'd feel just the same way I do now. Well, 
then, says I, what's the use you learning to do right when it's 
troublesome to do right and ain't no trouble to do wrong, and 
the wages is just the same? I was stuck. I couldn't answer that. 
So I reckoned I wouldn't bother no more about it, but after this 
always do whichever come handiest at the time. 

I went into the wigwam; Jim warn't there. I looked all 
around ; he warn't anywhere. I says : 


"Here I is, Huck. Is dey out o' sight yit? Don't talk loud." 


He was in the river under the stern oar, with just his nose 
out. I told him they were out of sight, so he come aboard. He 

"I was a-listenin' to all de talk, en I slips into de river en 
was gwyne to shove for sho' if dey come aboard. Den I was 
gwyne to swim to de raf ' agin when dey was gone. But lawsy, 
how you did fool 'em, Huck! Dat wuz de smartes' dodge! I 
tell you, chile, I 'spec it save' ole Jim ole Jim ain't going to 
forgit you for dat, honey." 

Then we talked about the money. It was a pretty good raise 
twenty dollars apiece. Jim said we could take deck passage 
on a steamboat now, and the money would last us as far as we 
wanted to go in the free states. He said twenty mile more 
warn't far for the raft to go, but he wished we was already 

Towards daybreak we tied up, and Jim was mighty particu- 
lar about hiding the raft good. Then he worked all day fixing 
things in bundles, and getting all ready to quit rafting. 

That night about ten we hove in sight of the lights of a 
town away down in a left-hand bend. 

I went off in the canoe to ask about it. Pretty soon I found 
a man out in the river with a skiff, setting a trot-line. I ranged 
up and says: 

"Mister, is that town Cairo?" 

"Cairo? no. You must be a blame' fool." 

"What town is it, mister?" 

"If you want to know, go and find out. If you stay here 
botherin' around me for about a half a minute longer you'll 
get something you won't want." 

I paddled to the raft. Jim was awful disappointed, but I 
said never mind, Cairo would be the next place, I reckoned. 

We passed another town before daylight, and I was going 
out again; but it was high ground, so I didn't go. No high 


ground about Cairo, Jim said. I had forgot it. We laid up for 
the day on a towhead tolerable close to the left-hand bank. I 
begun to suspicion something. So did Jim. I says : 

"Maybe we went by Cairo in the fog that night." 

He says: 

"Doan' le's talk about it, Huck. Po' niggers can't have no 
luck. I awluz 'spected dat rattlesnake-skin warn't done wid its 

"I wish I'd never seen that snake-skin, Jim I do wish I'd 
never laid eyes on it." 

"It ain't yo' fault, Huck; you didn't know. Don't you blame 
yo'self 'bout it." 

When it was daylight, here was the clear Ohio water inshore, 
sure enough, and outside was the old regular Muddy ! So it was 
all up with Cairo. 

We talked it all over. It wouldn't do to taks to the shore; 
we couldn't take the raft up the stream, of course. There warn't 
no way but to wait for dark, and start back in the canoe and 
take the chances. So we slept all day amongst the cotton-wood 
thicket, so as to be fresh for the work, and when we went back 
to the raft about dark the canoe was gone! 

We didn't say a word for a good while. There warn't any- 
thing to say. We both knowed well enough it was some more 
work of the rattlesnake-skin ; so what was the use to talk about 
it? It would only look like we was finding fault, and that would 
be bound to fetch more bad luck and keep on fetching it, too, 
till we knowed enough to keep still. 

By and by we talked about what we better do, and found 
there warn't no way but just to go along down with the raft 
till we got a chance to buy a canoe to go back in. We warn't 
going to borrow it when there warn't anybody around, the way 
pap would do, for that might set people after us. 

So we shoved out after dark on the raft* 

Anybody that don't believe yet that it's foolishness to handle 


a snake-skin, after all that that snake-skin done for us, will 
believe it now if they read on and see what more it done for us. 

The place to buy canoes is off of rafts laying up at shore, 
But we didn't see no rafts laying up ; so we went along during 
three hours and more. Well, the night got gray and ruther 
thick, which is the next meanest thing to fog. You can't tell 
the shape of the river, and you can't see no distance. It got to 
be very late and still, and then along comes a steamboat up the 
river. We lit the lantern, and judged she would see it. Up- 
stream boats didn't generly come close to us; they go out and 
follow the bars and hunt for easy water under the reefs; but 
nights like this they bull right up the channel against the whole 

We could hear her pounding along, but we didn't see her 
good till she was close. She aimed right for us. Often they do 
that and try to see how close they can come without touching; 
sometimes the wheel bites off a sweep, and then the pilot sticks 
his head out and laughs, and thinks he's mighty smart. Well, 
here she comes, and we said she was going to try and shave 
us ; but she didn't seem to be sheering off a bit. She was a high 
one, and she was coming in a hurry, too, looking like a black 
cloud with rows of glow-worms around it; but all of a sudden 
she bulged out, big and scary, with a long row of wide-open 
furnace doors shining like red-hot teeth, and her monstrous 
bows and guards hanging right over us. There was a yell at 
us, and a jingling of bells to stop the engines, a powwow of 
cussing, and whistling of steam and as Jim went overboard 
on one side and I on the other, she come smashing straight 
through the raft. 

I dived and I aimed to find the bottom, too, for a thirty- 
foot wheel had got to go over me, and I wanted it to have 
plenty of room. I could always stay under water a minute ; this 
time I reckon I stayed under a minute and a half. Then I 
bounced for the top in a hurry, for I was nearly busting. I 


popped out to my armpits and blowed the water out of my 
nose, and puffed a bit. Of course there was a booming current ; 
and of course that boat started her engines again ten seconds 
after she stopped them, for they never cared much for rafts- 
men ; so now she was churning along up the river, out of sight 
in the thick weather, though I could hear her. 

I sung out for Jim about a dozen times, but I didn't get any 
answer; so I grabbed a plank that touched me while I was 
"treading water," and struck out for shore, shoving it ahead 
of me. But I made out to see that the drift of the current was 
towards the left-hand shore, which meant that I was in a cross- 
ing; so I changed off and went that way. 

It was one of these long, slanting, two-mile crossings; so I 
was a good long time in getting over. I made a safe landing, 
and clumb up the bank. I couldn't see but a little ways, but I 
went poking along over rough ground for a quarter of a mile 
or more, and then I run across a big old-fashioned double log 
house before I noticed it. I was going to rush by and get away, 
but a lot of dogs jumped out and went to howling and bark- 
ing at me, and I knowed better than to move another peg. 



JL]Sr ABOUT a minute somebody spoke out of a window with- 
out putting his head out, and says : 

"Be done, boys! Who's there?" 

I says: 

"It's me." 

"Who's me?" 

"George Jackson, sir." 

"What do you want?" 

"I don't want nothing, sir. I only want to go along by, but 
the dogs won't let me." 

"What are you prowling around here this time of night for 

"I warn't prowling around, sir; I fell overboard off of the 

"Oh, you did, did you? Strike a light there, somebody. What 
did you say your name was?" 

"George Jackson, sir. I'm only a boy." 

"Look here, if you're telling the truth you needn't be afraid 
nobody '11 hurt you. But don't try to budge; stand right 
where you are. Rouse out Bob and Tom, some of you, and fetch 
the guns. George Jackson, is there anybody with you?" 

"No, sir, nobody." 

I heard the people stirring around in the house now, and see 

a light. The man sung out : 



"Snatch thdt light away, Betsy, you old fool ain't you got 
any sense? Put it on the floor behind the front door. Bob, if 
you and Tom are ready, take your places." 

"All ready." 

"Now, George Jackson, do you know the Shepherdsons?" 

"No, sir; I never heard of them." 

"Well, that may be so, and it mayn't. Now, all ready. Step 
forward, George Jackson. And mind, don't you hurry come 
mighty slow. If there's anybody with you, let him keep back 
if he shows himself he'll be shot. Come along now. Come slow ; 
push the door open yourself just enough to squeeze in, d'you 

I didn't hurry; I couldn't if I'd wanted to. I took one slow 
step at a time and there warn't a sound, only I thought I could 
hear my heart. The dogs were as still as the humans, but they 
followed a little behind me. When I got to the {hree log door- 
steps I heard them unlocking and unbarring and unbolting. I 
put my hand on the door and pushed it a little and a little more 
till somebody said, "There, that's enough put your head in." 
I done it, but I judged they would take it off. 

The candle was on the floor, and there they all was, looking 
at me, and me at them, for about a quarter of a minute : Three 
big men with guns pointed at me, which made me wince, I tell 
you; the oldest, gray and about sixty, the other two thirty or 
more all of them fine and handsome and the sweetest old 
gray-headed lady, and back of her two young women which I 
couldn't see right well. The old gentleman says: 

"There; I reckon it's all right. Come in." 

As soon as I was in the old gentleman he locked the door 
and barred it and bolted it, and told the young men to come 
in with their guns, and they all went in a big parlor that had a 
new rag carpet on the floor, and got together in a corner that 
was out of the range of the front windows there warn't none 
on the side. They held the candle, and took a good look at me> 


and all said, "Why, lie ain't a Shepherdson no, there ain't 
any Shepherdson about him." Then the old man said he hoped 
I wouldn't mind being searched for arms, because he didn't 
mean no harm by it it was only to make sure. So he didn't pry 
into my pockets, but only felt outside with his hands, and said 
it was all right. He told me to make myself easy and at home, 
and tell all about myself ; but the old lady says : 

"Why, bless you, Saul, the poor thing's as wet as he can be; 
and don't you reckon it may be he's hungry?" 

"True for you, Rachel I forgot." 

So the old lady says: 

"Betsy" (this was a nigger woman), "you fly around and 
get him something to eat as quick as you can, poor thing; and 
one of you girls go and wake up Buck and tell him oh, here 
he is himself. Buck, take this little stranger and get the wet 
clothes off from him and dress him up in some of yours that's 

Buck looked about as old as me thirteen or fourteen or 
along there, though he was a little bigger than me. He hadn't 
on anything but a shirt, and he was very frowzy-headed. He 
came in gaping and digging one fist into his eyes, and he was 
dragging a gun along with the other one. He says : 

"Ain't they no Shepherdsons around?" 

They said, no, 'twas a false alarm. 

"Well," he says, "if they'd 'a' ben some, I reckon I'd 'a' got 

They all laughed, and Bob says: 

"Why, Buck, they might have scalped us all, you've been so 
slow in coming." 

"Well, nobody come after me, and it ain't right. I'm always 
kept down; I don't get no show." 

"Never mind, Buck, my boy," says the old man, "you'll have 
show enough, all in good time, don't you fret about that. Go 
'long with you now, and do as your mother told you." 


When we got up-stairs to his room he got me a coarse shirt 
and a roundabout and pants of his, and I put them on. While 
I was at it he asked me what my name was, but before I could 
tell him he started to tell me about a blue jay and a young rabbit 
he had catched in the woods day before yesterday, and he asked 
me where Moses was when the candle went out. I said I didn't 
know; I hadn't heard about it before, no way. 

"Well, guess," he says. 

"How'm I going to guess," says I, "when I never heard 
tell of it before?" 

"But you can guess, can't you? It's just as easy." 

"Which candle?" I says. 

"Why, any candle," he says. 

"I don't know where he was," says I; "where was he?" 

"Why, he was in the dark! That's where he was!" 

"Well, if you knowed where he was, what did you ask me 

"Why, blame it, it's a riddle, don't you see? Say, how long 
are you going to stay here? You got to stay always. We can 
just have booming times they don't have no school now. Do 
you own a dog? I've got a dog and he'll go in the river and 
bring out chips that you throw in. Do you like to comb up 
Sundays, and all that kind of foolishness? You bet I don't, but 
ma she makes me. Confound these ole britches! I reckon I'd 
better put 'em on, but I'd ruther not, it's so warm. Are you 
all ready? All right. Come along, old hoss." 

Cold corn-pone, cold corn-beef, butter and buttermilk that 
is what they had for me down there, and there ain't nothing 
better that ever I've come across yet. Buck and his ma and all 
of them smoked cob pipes, except the nigger woman, which 
was gone, and the two young women. They all smoked and 
talked, and I eat and talked. The young women had quilts 
around them, and their hair down their backs. They all asked 
me questions, and I told them how pap and me and all the 


family was living on a little farm down at the bottom of Arkan- 
saw, and my sister Mary Ann run off and got married and 
never was heard of no more, and Bill went to hunt them and 
he warn't heard of no more, and Tom and Mort died, and then 
there warn't nobody but just me and pap left, and he was just 
trimmed down to nothing, on account of his troubles ; so when 
he died I took what there was left, because the farm didn't be- 
long to us, and started up the river, deck passage, and fell over- 
board; and that was how I come to be here. So they said I 
could have a home there as long as I wanted it. Then it was 
most daylight and everybody went to bed, and I went to bed 
with Buck, and when I waked up in the morning, drat it all, 
I had forgot what my name was. So I laid there about an hour 
trying to think, and when Buck waked up I says: 

"Can you spell, Buck?" 

"Yes," he says. 

"I bet you can't spell my name," says I. 

"I bet you what you dare I can," says he. 

"All right," says I, "go ahead." 

"G-e-o-r-g-e J-a-x-o-n there now," he says. 

"Well," says I, "you done it, but I didn't think you could. 
It ain't no slouch of a name to spell right off without 

I set it down, private, because somebody might want me to 
spell it next, and so I wanted to be handy with it and rattle it 
off like I was used to it. 

It was a mighty nice family, and a mighty nice house, too. 
I hadn't seen no house out in the country before that was so 
nice and had so much style. It didn't have an iron latch on the 
front door, nor a wooden one with a buckskin string, but a 
brass knob to turn, the same as houses in town. There warn't 
no bed in the parlor, nor a sign of a bed ; but heaps of parlors 
in towns has beds in them. There was a big fireplace that was 
bricked on the bottom, and the bricks was kept clean and red 


by pouring water on them and scrubbing them with another 
brick; sometimes they wash them over with red water-paint 
that they call Spanish-brown, same as they do in town. They 
had big brass dog-irons that could hold up a saw-log. There was 
a clock on the middle of the mantelpiece, with a picture of a 
town painted on the bottom half of the glass front, and a round 
place in the middle of it for the sun, and you could see the 
pendulum swinging behind it. It was beautiful to hear that 
clock tick ; and sometimes when one of these peddlers had been 
along and scoured her up and got her in good shape, she would 
start in and strike a hundred and fifty before she got tuckered 
out. They wouldn't took any money for her. 

Well, there was a big outlandish parrot on each side of the 
clock, made out of something like chalk, and painted up gaudy. 
By one of the parrots was a cat made of crockery, and a crock- 
ery dog by the other ; and when you pressed down on them they 
squeaked, but didn't open their mouth nor look % diff erent nor 
interested. They squeaked through underneath. There was a 
couple of big wild-turkey wing fans spread out behind those 
things. On the table in the middle of the room was a kind of a 
Jovely crockery basket that had apples and oranges and peaches 
and grapes piled up in it, which was much redder and yellower 
and prettier than real ones is, but they warn't real because you 
could see where pieces had got chipped off and showed the white 
chalk, or whatever it was, underneath. 

This table had a cover made out of beautiful oilcloth, with a 
red and blue spread-eagle painted on it, and a painted border 
all around. It come all the way from Philadelphia, they said. 
There was some books, too, piled up perfectly exact, on each 
corner of the table. One was a big family Bible full of pictures. 
One was Pilgrim's Progress, about a man that left his family, 
it didn't say why. I read considerable in it now and then. The 
statements was interesting, but tough. Another was Friend- 
ship's Offering, full of beautiful stuff and poetry; but I didn't 


read the poetry. Another was Henry Clay's Speeches, and 
another was Dr. Gunn's Family Medicine, which told you all 
about what to do if a body was sick or dead. There was a hymn- 
book, and a lot of other books. And there was nice split-bottom 
chairs, and perfectly sound, too not bagged down in the mid- 
dle and busted, like an old basket. 

They had pictures hung on the walls mainly Washingtons 
and Lafayettes, and battles, and Highland Marys, and one 
called "Signing the Declaration." There was some that they 
called crayons, which one of the daughters which was dead 
made her own self when she was only fifteen years old. They 
was different from any pictures I ever see before blacker, 
mostly, than is common. One was a woman in a slim black 
dress, belted small under the armpits, with bulges like a cab- 
bage in the middle of the sleeves, and a large black scoop-shovel 
bonnet with a black veil, and white slim ankles crossed about 
with black tape, and very wee black slippers, like a chisel, and 
she was leaning pensive on a tombstone on her right elbow, 
under a weeping willow, and her other hand hanging down her 
side holding a white handkerchief and a reticule, and under- 
neath the picture it said "Shall I Never See Thee More Alas." 
Another one was a young lady with her hair all combed up 
straight to the top of her head, and knotted there in front of a 
comb like a chair-back, and she was crying into a handkerchief 
and had a dead bird laying on its back in her other hand with 
its heels up, and underneath the picture it said "I Shall Never 
Hear Thy Sweet Chirrup More Alas." There was one where a 
young lady was at a window looking up at the moon, and tears 
running down her cheeks; and she had an open letter in one 
hand with black sealing-wax showing on one edge of it, and 
she was mashing a locket with a chain to it against her mouth, 
and underneath the picture it said "And Art Thou Gone Yes 
Thou Art Gone Alas." These was all nice pictures, I reckon, 
but I didn't somehow seem to take to them, because if ever I 


was down a little they always give me the fan-tods. Everybody 
was sorry she died, because she had laid out a lot more of these 
pictures to do, and a body could see by what she had done what 
they had lost. But I reckoned that with her disposition she was 
having a better time in the graveyard. She was at work on 
what they said was her greatest picture when she took sick, 
and every day and every night it was her prayer to be allowed 
to live till she got it done, but she never got the chance. It was 
a picture of a young woman in a long white gown, standing on 
the rail of a bridge all ready to jump off, with her hair all down 
her back, and looking up to the moon, with the tears running 
down her face, and she had two arms folded across her breast, 
and two arms stretched out in front, and two more reaching 
up toward the moon and the idea was to see which pair would 
look best, and then scratch out all the other arms ; but, as I was 
saying, she died before she got her mind made up and now 
they kept this picture over the head of the bed in her room, and 
every time her birthday come they hung flowers on it. Other 
times it was hid with a little curtain. The young woman in the 
picture had a kind of a nice sweet face, but there was so many 
arms it made her look too spidery, seemed to me. 

This young girl kept a scrap-book when she was alive, and 
used to paste obituaries and accidents and cases of patient suf- 
fering in it out of the Presbyterian Observer, and write poetry 
after them out of her own head. It was very good poetry. This is 
what she wrote about a boy by the name of Stephen Dowling 
Bots that fell down a well and was drownded: 


And did young Stephen sicken, 
And did. young Stephen die? 

And did the sad hearts thicken, 
And did the mourners cry? 


No; such was not the fate of 

Young Stephen Dowling Bots ; 
Though sad hearts round him thickened, 

'Twas not from sickness' shots. 

No whooping-cough did rack his frame, 

Nor measles drear with spots ; 
Not these impaired the sacred name 

Of Stephen Dowling Bots. 

Despised love struck not with woe 

That head of curly knots, 
Nor stomach troubles laid him low, 

Young Stephen Dowling Bots. 

O no. Then list with tearful eye, 

Whilst I his fate do tell. 
His soul did from this cold world fly 

By falling down a well. 

They got him out and emptied him; 

Alas it was too late ; 
His spirit was gone for to sport aloft 

In the realms of the good and great. 

If Emmeline Grangerford could make poetry like that be- 
fore she was fourteen, there ain't no telling what she could V 
done by and by. Buck said she could rattle off poetry like noth- 
ing. She didn't ever have to stop to think. He said she would 
slap down a line, and if she couldn't find anything to rhyme 
with it would just scratch it out and slap down another one, 
and go ahead. She w r arn't particular; she could write about 
anything you choose to give her to write about just so it was 
sadful. Every time a man died, or a w r oman died, or a child 
died, she would be on hand with her "tribute" before he was 
cold. She called them tributes. The neighbors said it was the 
doctor first, then Emmeline, then the undertaker the under- 
taker never got in ahead of Emmeline but once, and then she 
hung fire on a rhyme for the dead person's name, which was 


Whistler. She warn't ever the same after that; she never com- 
plained, but she kinder pined away and did not live long. Poor 
thing, many's the time I made myself go up to the little room 
that used to be hers and get out her poor old scrap-book and 
read in it when her pictures had been aggravating me and I 
had soured on her a little. I liked all that family, dead ones and 
all, and warn't going to let anything come between us. Poor 
Emmeline made poetry about all the dead people when she 
was alive, and it didn't seem right that there warn't nobody to 
make some about her now she was gone ; so I tried to sweat out 
a verse or two myself, but I couldn't seem to make it go some- 
how. They kept Emmeline's room trim and nice, and all the 
things fixed in it just the way she liked to have them when 
she was alive, and nobody ever slept there. The old lady took 
care of the room herself, though there was plenty of niggers, 
and she sewed there a good deal and read^ her Bible there 

Well, as I was saying about the parlor, there was beautiful 
curtains on the windows : white, with pictures painted on them 
of castles with vines all down the walls, and cattle coming down 
to drink. There was a little old piano, too, that had tin pans 
in it, I reckon, and nothing was ever so lovely as to hear the 
young ladies sing "The Last Link is Broken" and play "The 
Battle of Prague" on it. The walls of all the rooms was plas- 
tered, and most had carpets on the floors, and the whole house 
was whitewashed on the outside. 

It was a double house, and the big open place betwixt them 
was roofed and floored, and sometimes the table was set there 
in the middle of the day, and it was a cool, comfortable place. 
Nothing couldn't be better. And warn't the cooking good, and 
just bushels of it too! 



'OL. GRANGERFORD was a gentleman, you see. He 
was a gentleman all over; and so was his family. He was well 
born, as the saying is, and that's worth as much in a man as it 
is in a horse, so the Widow Douglas said, and nobody ever 
denied that she was of the first aristocracy in our town; and 
pap he always said it, too, though he warn't no more quality 
than a mudcat himself. Col. Grangerf ord was very tall and very 
slim, and had a darkish-paly complexion, not a sign of red in it 
anywheres ; he was clean-shaved every morning all over his thin 
face, and he had the thinnest kind of lips, and the thinnest kind 
of nostrils, and a high nose, and heavy eyebrows, and the black- 
est kind of eyes, sunk so deep back that they seemed like they 
was looking out of caverns at you, as you may say. His fore- 
head was high, and his hair was gray and straight and hung to 
his shoulders. His hands was long and thin, and every day of 
his life he put on a clean shirt and a full suit from head to foot 
made out of linen so white it hurt your eyes to look at it ; and 
on Sundays he wore a blue tail-coat with brass buttons on it. 
He carried a mahogany cane with a silver head to it. There 
warn't no frivolishness about him, not a bit, and he warn't ever 
loud. He was as kind as he could be you could feel that, you 
know, and so you had confidence. Sometimes he smiled, and it 



was good to see; but when he straightened himself up like a 
liberty-pole, and the lightning begun to flicker out from under 
his eyebrows, you wanted to climb a tree first, and find out what 
the matter was afterwards. He didn't ever have to tell anybody 
to mind their manners everybody was always good-mannered 
where he was. Everybody loved to have him around, too; he 
was sunshine most always I mean he made it seem like good 
weather. When he turned into a cloud-bank it was awful dark 
for half a minute, and that was enough ; there wouldn't nothing 
go wrong again for a week. 

When him and the old lady come down in the morning all 
the family got out of their chairs and give them good day, and 
didn't set down again till they had set down. Then Tom and 
Bob went to the sideboard where the decanter was and mixed 
a glass of bitters and handed it to him, and he held it in his hand 
and waited till Tom's and Bob's was mixed, and then they 
bowed and said, "Our duty to you, sir, and madam"; and they 
bowed the least bit in the world and said thank you, and so they 
drank, all three, and Bob and Tom poured a spoonful of water 
on the sugar and the mite of whisky or apple-brandy in the 
bottom of their tumblers, and give it to me and Buck, and we 
drank to the old people too. 

Bob was the oldest and Tom next tall, beautiful men with 
very broad shoulders arfd brown faces, and long black hair and 
black eyes. They dressed in white linen from head to foot, like 
the old gentleman, arid wore broad Panama hats. 

Then there was Miss Charlotte; she was twenty-five, and tall 
and proud and grand, but as good as she could be when she 
warn't stirred up ; but when she was she had a look that would 
make you wilt in your tracks, like her father. She was beautiful. 

So was her sister, Miss Sophia, but it was a different kind. 
She was gentle and sweet like a dove, and she was only twenty. 

Each person had their own nigger to wait on them Buck 
too. My nigger had a monstrous easy time, because I warn't 


used to having anybody do anything for me, but Buck's was on 
the jump most of the time. 

This was all there was of the family now, but there used to be 
more three sons; they got killed; and Emmeline that died. 

The old gentleman owned a lot of farms and over a hundred 
niggers. Sometimes a stack of people would come there, horse- 
back, from ten or fifteen miles around, and stay five or six days, 
and have such junketings round about arid on the river, and 
dances and picnics in the woods daytimes, and balls at the house 
nights. These people was mostly kinfolks of the family. The 
men brought their guns with them. It was a handsome lot of 
quality, I tell you. 

There was another clan of aristocracy around there five or 
six families mostly of the name of Shepherdson. They was as 
high-toned and well born and rich and grand as the tribe of 
Grangerfords. The Shepherdsons and Grangerfords used the 
same steamboat-landing, which was about two mile above our 
house; so sometimes when I went up there with a lot of our 
folks I used to see a lot of the Shepherdsons there on their fine 

One day Buck and me was away out in the woods hunting, 
and heard a horse coming. We was crossing the road. Buck 
says : 

"Quick! Jump for the woods!" 

We done it, and then peeped down the woods through the 
leaves. Pretty soon a splendid young man came galloping down 
the road, setting his horse easy and looking like a soldier. He 
had his gun across his pommel. I had seen him before. It was 
young Harney Shepherdson. I heard Buck's gun go off at my 
ear, and Harney's hat tumbled oft* from his head. He grabbed 
his gun and rode straight to the place where we was hid. But 
we didn't wait. We started through the woods on a run. The 
woods warn't thick, so I looked over my shoulder to dodge the 
bullet, and twice I seen Harney cover Buck with his gun; and 


then he rode away the way he come to get his hat, I reckon, 
but I couldn't see. We never stopped running till we got home. 
The old gentleman's eyes blazed a minute 'twas . pleasure, 
mainly, I judged then his face sort of smoothed down, and he 
says, kind of gentle : 

"I don't like that shooting from behind a bush. Why didn't 
you step into the road, my boy?" 

"The Shepherdsons don't, father. They always take advan- 

Miss Charlotte she held her head up like a queen while Buck 
was telling his tale, and her nostrils spread and her eyes 
snapped. The two young men looked dark, but never said noth- 
ing. Miss Sophia she turned pale, but the color come back when 
she found the man warn't hurt. 

Soon as I could get Buck down by the corn-cribs under the 
trees by ourselves, I says : 

"Did you want to kill him, Buck?" 

"Well, I bet I did." 

"What did he do to you?" 

"Him? He never done nothing to me." 

"Well, then, what did you want to kill him for?" 

"Why, nothing only it's on account of the feud." 

"What's a feud?" 

"Why, where was you raised? Don't you know what a feud 

"Never heard of it before tell me about it." 

"Well," says Buck, "a feud is this way: A man has a quarrel 
with another man, and kills him; then that other man's brother 
kills him; then the other brothers, on both sides, goes for one 
another; then the cousins chip in and by and by everybody's 
killed off, and there ain't no more feud. But it's kind of slow, 
and takes a long time." 

"Has this one been going on long, Buck?" 

"Well, I should reckon! It started thirty years ago, or som- 


'ers along there. There was trouble 'bout something, and then 
a lawsuit to settle it ; and the s.uit went agin one of the men, and 
so he up and shot the man that won the suit which he would 
naturally do, of course. Anybody would." 

"What was the trouble about, Buck? land?" 

"I reckon maybe I don't know." 

"Well, who done the shooting? Was it a Grangerford or a 

"Laws, how do I know? It was so long ago." 

"Don't anybody know?" 

"Oh, yes, pa knows, I reckon, and some of the other old 
people; but they don't know now what the row was about in 
the first place." 

"Has there been many killed, Buck?" 

"Yes; right smart chance of funerals. But they don't always 
kill. Pa's got a few buckshot in him; but he don't mind it 'cuz 
he don't weigh much, anyway. Bob's been carved up some with 
a bowie, and Tom's been hurt once or twice." 

"Has anybody been killed this year, Buck?" 

"Yes; we got one and they got one. 'Bout three months ago 
my cousin Bud, fourteen year old, was riding through the 
woods on t'other side of the river, and didn't have no weapon 
with him, which was blame' foolishness, and in a lonesome place 
he hears a horse a-coming behind him, and sees old Baldy Shep- 
herdson a-linkin' after him with his gun in his hand and his 
white hair a-flying in the wind; and 'stead of jumping off and 
taking to the brush, Bud 'lowed he could outrun him ; .so they 
had it, nip and tuck, for five mile or more, the old man a-gain- 
ing all the time; so at last Bud seen it warn't any use, so he 
stopped and faced around so as to have the bullet-holes in front, 
you know, and the old man he rode up and shot him down. But 
he didn't git much chance to enjoy his luck, for inside of a 
week our folks laid him out." 

"I reckon that old man was a\ coward, Buck." 


"I reckon he warn't a coward. Not by a blame' sight. There 
ain't a coward amongst them Shepherdsons not a one. And 
there ain't no cowards amongst the Grangerf ords either. Why, 
that old man kep' up his end in a fight one day for half an hour 
against three Grangerfords, and come out winner. They was 
all a-horseback; he lit off of his horse and got behind a little 
wood-pile, and kep' his horse before him to stop the bullets; 
but the Grangerf ords stayed on their horses and capered around 
the old man, and peppered away at him, and he peppered away 
at them. Him and his horse went home pretty leaky and crip- 
pled, but the Grangerf ords had to be fetched home and one 
of 'em was dead, and another died the next day. No, sir; if a 
body's out hunting for cowards he don't want to fool any time 
amongst them 'Shepherdsons, becuz they don't breed any of 
that kind/' 

Next Sunday we all went to church, about three mile, every- 
body a-horseback. The men took their guns along, so did Buck, 
and kept them between their knees or stood them handy against 
the wall. The Shepherdsons done the same. It was pretty ornery 
preaching all about brotherly love, and such-like tiresomeness ; 
but everybody said it was a good sermon, and they all talked it 
over going home, and had such a powerful lot to say about faith 
and good works and free grace and preforeordestination, and 
I don't know what all, that it did seem to me to be one of the 
roughest Sundays I had run across yet. 

About an hour after dinner everybody was dozing around, 
some in. their chairs and some in their rooms, and it got to be 
pretty dulL Buck and a dog was stretched out on the grass in 
the sun sound asleep. I went up to our room, and judged I 
would take a nap myself. I found that sweet Miss Sophia stand- 
ing in her door, which was next to ours, and she took me in her 
room and shut the door very soft, and asked me if I liked her, 
and I said I did ; and she asked me if I would do something for 
her and not tell anybody, and I said I would. Then she said 


sne d forgot her Testament, and left it in the seat at church 
between two other books, and would I slip out quiet and go 
there and fetch it to her, and not say nothing to nobody. I said 
I would. So I slid out and slipped off up the road, and there 
warn't anybody at the church, except maybe a hog or two, for 
there warn't any lock on the door, and hogs likes a puncheon 
floor in summer-time because it's cool. If you notice, most folks 
don't go to church only when they've got to; but a hog is dif- 

Says I to myself, something's up; it ain't natural for a girl 
to be in such a sweat about a Testament. So I give it a shake, 
and out drops a little piece of paper with "Half past two" wrote 
on it with a pencil. I ransacked it, but couldn't find anything 
else. I couldn't make anything out of that, so I put the paper 
in the book again, and when I got home and upstairs there was 
Miss Sophia in her door waiting for me. She pulled me in and 
shut the door; then she looked in the Testament till she found 
the paper, and as soon as she read it she looked glad; and be- 
fore a body could think she grabbed me and give me a squeeze, 
and said I was the best boy in the world, and not to tell any- 
body. She was mighty red in the face for a minute, and her eyes 
lighted up, and it made her powerful pretty. I was a good deal 
astonished, but when I got my breath I asked her what the 
paper was about, and she asked me if I had read it, and I said 
no, and she asked me if I could read writing, and I told her 
"no, only coarse-hand," and then she said the paper warn't any- 
thing but a book-mark to keep her place, and I might go and 
play now, 

I went off down to the river, studying over this thing, and 
pretty soon I noticed that my nigger was following along be- 
hind. When we was out of sight of the house he looked back 
and around a second, and then comes a-running, and says: 

"Mars Jawge, if you'll come down into de swamp I'll show 
you a whole stack o' water-moccasins." 


Thinks I, that's mighty curious ; he said that yesterday. He 
oughter know a body don't love water-moccasins enough to go 
around hunting for them. What is he up to, anyway? So I says: 

"All right; trot ahead." 

I followed a half a mile ; then he struck out over the swamp, 
and waded ankle-deep as much as another half-mile. We come 
to a little flat piece of land which was dry and very thick with 
trees and bushes and vines, and he says: 

"You shove right in dah jist a few steps, Mars Jawge; dah's 
whah dey is. I's seed 'm befo'; I don't k'yer to see 'em no mo'." 

Then he slopped right along and went away, and pretty soon 
the trees hid him. I poked into the place a ways and come to a 
little open patch as big as a bedroom all hung around with 
vines, and found a man laying there asleep and, by jings, it 
was my old Jim! 

I waked him up, and I reckoned it was goiug to be a grand 
surprise to him to see me again, but it warn't. He nearly cried 
he was so glad, but he warn't surprised. Said he swum along 
behind me that night, and heard me yell every time, but dasn't 
answer, because he didn't want nobody to pick him up and take 
him into slavery again. Says he: 

"I got hurt a little, en couldn't swim fas', so I wuz a con- 
siderable ways behine you towards de las' ; when you landed I 
reck'ned I could ketch up wid you on de Ian' 'dout havin' to 
shout at you, but when I see dat house I begin to go slow. I 'uz 
off too fur to hear what dey say to you I wuz 'f raid o' de dogs ; 
but when it 'uz all quiet ag'in I knowed you's in de house, so I 
struck out for de woods to wait for day. Early in de mawnin' 
some er de niggers come along, gwyne to de fields, en dey tuk 
me en showed me dis place, whah de dogs can't track me on 
account o' de water, en dey brings me truck to eat every night, 
en tells me how you's a-gittin' along." 

"Why didn't you tell my Jack to fetch me here sooner, Jim?" 

"Well, 'twarn't no use to 'sturb you, Huck, tell we could do 


sumfn but we's all right now. I ben a-buyin' pots en pans en 
vittles, as I got a chanst, en a-patchin' up de raf nights 
when " 

"What raft, Jim?" 

"Our ole raf." 

"You mean to say our old raft warn't smashed all to flin- 

"No, she warn't. She was tore up a good deal one en' of her 
was; but dey warn't no great harm done, only our traps was 
mos' all los.' Ef we hadn' dive' so deep en swum so fur under 
water, en de night hadn't been so dark, en we warn't so sk'y- 
ered, en ben sich punkin-heads, as de sayin' is, we'd a seed de 
raf. But it's jis' as well we didn't, 'kase now she's all fixed up 
ag'in mos' as good as new, en we's a got a new lot o' stuff, in 
de place o' what 'uz los'." 

"Why, how did you get hold of the raft again, Jim did 
you catch her?" 

"How I gwyne to ketch her en I out in de woods? No; some 
er de niggers foun' her ketched on a snag along heah in de 
ben', en dey hid her in a crick 'mongst de willows, en dey wuz 
so much jawin' 'bout which un 'um she b'longs to de mos' dat 
I come to heah 'bout it pretty soon, so I up s en settles de trou- 
ble by tellin' 'um she don't b'long to none uv 'um, but to you en 
me ; en I ast 'm if dey gwyne to grab a young white genlman's 
propaty, en git a hid'n for it? Den I gin 'm ten cents apiece, 
en dey 'uz mighty well satisfied, en wisht some mo' raf s 'ud 
corrie along en make 'm rich ag'in. Dey's mighty good to me, 
dese niggers is, en whatever I wants 'm to do fur me I doan' 
have to ast 'm twice, honey. Dat Jack's a good nigger, en pooty 

"Yes, he is. He ain't ever told me you was here; told me to 
come, and he'd show me a lot of water-moccasins. If anything 
happens he ain't mixed up in it. He can say he never seen us to- 
gether, and it '11 be the truth." 


I don't want to talk much about the next day. I reckon I'll 
cut it pretty short. I waked up about dawn, and was a-going to 
turn over and go to sleep again when I noticed how still it was 
didn't seem to be anybody stirring. That warn't usual. Next 
I noticed that Buck was up and gone. Well, I gets up, a-won- 
dering, and goes down-stairs nobody around; everything as 
still as a mouse. Just the same outside. Thinks I, what does it 
mean? Down by the woodpile I comes across my Jack, and 

"What's it all about?" 

Says he: 

"Don't you know, Mars Jawge?" 

"No," says I, "I don't." 

"Well, den, Miss Sophia's run off! 'deed she has. She run 
off in de night some time nobody don't know jis' when; run 
off to get married to dat young Harney Shepherdson, you 
know leastways, so dey 'spec. De fambly foun' it out 'bout 
half an hour ago maybe a little mo' en I tell you dey warn't 
no time los.' Sich another hurryin' up guns en hosses you never 
see ! De women folks has gone for to stir up de relations, en ole 
Mars Saul en de boys tuck dey guns eri rode up de river road 
for to try to ketch dat young man en kill him 'fo' he kin git 
acrost de river wid Miss Sophia. I reck'n dey's gwyne to be 
mighty rough times." 

"Buck went off 'thout waking me up." 

"Well, I reck'n he did! Dey warn't gwyne to mix you up in 
it. Mars Buck he loaded up his gun en 'lowed he's gwyne to 
fetch home a Shepherdson or bust. Well, dey '11 be plenty un 'm 
dah, I reck'n, en you bet you he'll fetch one ef he gits a chanst." 

I took up the river road as hard as I could put. By and by I 
begin to hear guns a good ways off. When I came in sight 
of the log store and the woodpile where the steamboats lands 
I worked along under the trees and brush till I got to a good 
place, and then I clumb up into the forks of a cottonwood that 


was out of reach, and watched. There was a wood-rank four 
foot high a little ways in front of the tree, and first I was going 
to hide behind that ; but maybe it was luckier I didn't. 

There was four or five men cavorting around on their horses 
in the open place before the log store, cussing and yelling, arid 
trying to get a couple of young chaps that was behind the 
wood-rank alongside of the steamboat-landing; but they 
couldn't come it. Every time one of them showed himself on the 
river side of the woodpile he got shot at. The two boys was 
squatting back to back behind the pile, so they could watch 
both ways. 

By and by the men stopped cavorting around and yelling. 
They started riding towards the store ; then up gets one of the 
boys, draws a steady bead over the wood-rank, and drops one 
of them out of his saddle. All the men jumped off of their 
horses and grabbed the hurt one and started to carry him to the 
store; and that minute the two boys started on the run. They 
got half-way to the tree I was in before the men noticed. Then 
the men see them, and jumped on their horses and took out after 
them. They gained on the boys, but it didn't do no good, the 
boys had too good a start; they got to the woodpile that was 
in front of my tree, and slipped in behind it, and so they had 
the bulge on the men again. One of the boys was Buck, and the 
other was a slim young chap about nineteen years old. 

The men ripped around awhile, and then rode away. As soon 
as they was out of sight I sung out to Buck and told him. He 
didn't know what to make of my voice coming out of the tree 
aj; first. He was awful surprised. He told me to watch out sharp 
and let him know when the men come in sight again ; said they 
was up to some devilment or other wouldn't be gone long. 
I wished I was out of that tree, but I dasn't come down. Buck 
begun to cry and rip, and 'lowed that him and his cousin Joe 
(that was the other young chap) would make up for this day 
yet. He said his father and his two brothers was killed, and two 


or three of the enemy. Said the Shepherdsons laid for them in 
ambush. Buck said his father and brothers ought to waited for 
their relations the Shepherdsons was too strong for them. I 
asked him what was become of young Harney and Miss Sophia. 
He said they'd got across the river and was safe. I was glad of 
that; but the way Buck did take on because he didn't manage 
to kill Harney that day he shot at him I hain't ever heard 
anything like it. 

All of a sudden, bang! bang! bang! goes three or four guns 
the men had slipped around through the woods and come in 
from behind without their horses! The boys jumped for the 
river both of them hurt and as they swum down the current 
the men run along the bank shooting at them and singing out, 
"Kill them, kill them!" It made me so sick I most fell out of the 
tree. I ain't a-going to tell all that happened it would make 
me sick again if I was to do that. I wished I hadn't ever come 
ashore that night to see such things. I ain't ever going to get 
shut of them lots of times I dream about them. 

I stayed in the tree till it begun to get dark, afraid to come 
down. Sometimes I heard guns away off in the woods; and 
twice I seen little gangs of men gallop past the log store with 
guns; so I reckoned the trouble was still a-going on. I was 
mighty down-hearted; so I made up my mind I wouldn't ever 
go anear the house again, because I reckoned I was to blame, 
somehow. I judged that that piece of paper meant that Miss 
Sophia was to meet Harney somewheres at half past two and 
run off; and I judged I ought to told her father about that 
paper and the curious way she acted, and then maybe he would 
'a' locked her up, and this awful mess wouldn't ever happened. 

When I got down out of the tree I crept along down the 
river-bank a piece, and found the two bodies laying in the edge 
of the water, and tugged at them till I got them ashore ; then I 
covered up their faces, and got away as quick as I could. I cried 


a little when I was covering up Buck's face, for he was mighty 
good to me. 

It was just dark now. I never went near the house, but struck 
through the woods and made for the swamp. Jim warn't on his 
island, so I tramped off in a hurry for the crick, and crowded 
through the willows, red-hot to jump aboard and get out of 
that awful country. The raft was gone! My souls, but I was 
scared! I couldn't get my breath for most a minute. Then I 
raised a yell. A voice not twenty-five foot from me says : 

"Good Ian'! is dat you, honey? Doan' make no noise." 

It was Jim's voice nothing ever sounded so good before. I 
run along the bank a piece and got aboard, and Jim he grabbed 
me and hugged me, he was so glad to see me. He says : 

"Laws bless you, chile, I 'uz right down sho' you's dead ag'in. 
Jack's been heah; he says he reck'n you's ben shot, kase you 
didn' come home no mo'; so I's jes' dis minute a-startin' de raf 
down towards de mouf er de crick, so's to be all ready for to 
shove out en leave soon as Jack comes ag'in en tells me for cer- 
tain you is dead. Lawsy, I's mighty glad to git you back ag'in, 

I says: 

"All right that's mighty good; they won't find me, and 
they'll think I've been killed, and floated down the river 
there's something up there that '11 help them think so so don't 
you lose no time, Jim, but just shove off for the big water as 
fast as ever you can." 

I never felt easy till the raft was two mile below there and out 
in the middle of the Mississippi. Then we hung up our signal 
lantern, and judged that we was free and safe once more. I 
hadn't had a bite to eat since yesterday, so Jim he got out some 
corn-dodgers and buttermilk, and pork and cabbage and greens 
there ain't nothing in the world so good when it's cooked 
right and whilst I eat my supper we talked and had a good 


time. I was powerful glad to get away from the feuds, and so 
was Jim to get away from the swamp. We said there warn't no 
home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up 
and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty free and easy 
and comfortable on a raft. 



.WO or three days and nights went by; I reckon I might say 
they swum by, they slid along so quiet and smooth and lovely. 
Here is the way we put in the time. It was a monstrous big river 
down there sometimes a mile and a half wide ; we run nights, 
and laid up and hid daytimes ; soon as night was most gone we 
stopped navigating and tied up nearly always in the dead 
water under a towhead; and then cut young cottonwoods and 
willows, and hid the raft with them. Then we set out the lines. 
Next we slid into the river and had a swim, so as to freshen up 
and cool off; then we set clown on the sandy bottom where the 
water was about knee-deep, and watched the daylight come. 
Not a sound anywhere perfectly still just like the whole 
world was asleep, only sometimes the bullfrogs a-cluttering, 
maybe. The first thing to see, looking away over the water, was 
a kind of dull line that was the woods on t'other side; you 
couldn't make nothing else out; then a pale place in the sky; 
then more paleness spreading around; then the river softened 
up away off, and warn't black any more, but gray; you could 



see little dark spots drifting along ever so far away trading- 
scows, and such things; and long black streaks rafts; some- 
times you could hear a sweep screaking; or jumbled-up voices, 
it was so still, and sounds come so far; and by and by you could 
see a streak on the water which you know by the look of the 
streak that there's a snag there in a swift current which breaks 
on it and makes that streak look that way ; and you see the mist 
curl up off of the water, and the east reddens up, and the river, 
and you make out a log cabin in the edge of the woods, away on 
the bank on t'other side of the river, being a wood-yard, likely, 
and piled by them cheats so you can throw a dog through it 
anywheres; then the nice breeze springs up, and comes fan- 
ning you from over there, so cool and fresh and sweet to smell 
on account of the woods and the flowers ; but sometimes not that 
way, because they've left dead fish laying around, gars and 
such, and they do get pretty rank; and next you've got the full 
day, and everything smiling in the sun, and the song-birds just 
going it! 

A little smoke couldn't be noticed now, so we would take 
some fish off of the lines and cook up a hot breakfast. And after- 
wards we would watch the lonesomeness of the river, and kind 
of lazy along, and by and by lazy off to sleep. Wake up by and 
by, and look to see what done it, and maybe see a steamboat 
coughing along up-stream, so far off towards the other side 
YOU couldn't tell nothing about her only whether she was a stern- 
wheel or side-wheel ; then for about an hour there wouldn't be 
nothing to hear nor nothing to see just solid lonesomeness. 
Next you'd see a raft sliding by, away off yonder, and maybe 
a galoot on it chopping, because they're most always doing it 
on a raft; you'd see the ax flash and come down you don't 
hear nothing; you see that ax go up again, and by the time it's 
above the man's head then you hear the k'chunk! it had took 
all that time to come over the water. So we would put in the 
day, lazying around, listening to the stillness. Once there was a 


thick fog, and the rafts and things that went by was beating tin 
pans so the steamboats wouldn't run over them. A scow or a 
raft went by so close we could hear them talking and cussing 
and laughing heard them plain; but we couldn't see no sign 
of them; it made you feel crawly; it was like spirits carrying 
on that way in the air. Jim said he believed it was spirits ; but I 

"No; spirits wouldn't say, T)ern the dern fog.' " 

Soon as it was night out we shoved; when we got her out to 
about the middle we let her alone, and let her float wherever 
the current wanted her to; then we lit the pipes, and dangled 
our legs in the water, and talked about all kinds of things we 
was always naked, day and night, whenever the mosquitoes 
would let us the new clothes Buck's folks made for me was too 
good to be comfortable, and besides I didn't go much on clothes, 

Sometimes we'd have that whole river all to ourselves for the 
longest time. Yonder was the banks and the islands, across the 
water ; and maybe a spark which was a candle in a cabin win- 
dow; and sometimes on the water you could see a spark or two 
on a raft or a scow, you know ; and maybe you could hear a 
fiddle or a song coming over from one of them crafts. It's 
lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky up there, all speckled 
with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, 
and discuss about whether they was made or only just hap- 
pened. Jim he allowed they was made, but I allowed they hap- 
pened; I judged it would have took too long to make so many. 
Jim said the moon could 'a' laid them; well, that looked kind 
of reasonable, so I didn't say nothing against it, because I've 
seen a frog lay most as many, so of course, it could be done. We 
used to watch the stars that fell, too, and see them streak down. 
Jim allowed they'd got spoiled and was hove out of the nest. 

Once or twice of a night we would see a steamboat slipping 
along in the dark, and now and then she would belch a whole 


world of sparks up out of her chimbleys, and they would rain 
down in the river and look awful pretty; then she would turn 
a corner and her lights would wink out and her powwow shut 
off and leave the river still again; and by and by her waves 
would get to us, a long time after she was gone, and joggle the 
raft a bit, and after that you wouldn't hear nothing for you 
couldn't tell how long, except maybe frogs or something. 

After midnight the people on shore went to bed, and then 
for two or three hours the shores was black no more sparks 
in the cabin windows. These sparks was our clock the first one 
that showed again meant morning was coming, so we hunted 
a place to hide and tie up right away. 

One morning about daybreak I found a canoe and crossed 
over a chute to the main shore it was only two hundred yards 
end paddled about a mile up a crick amongst the cypress 
woods, to see if I couldn't get some berries. Just as I was pass- 
ing a place where a kind of a cowpath crossed the crick, here 
comes a couple of men tearing up the path as tight as they 
could foot it. I thought I was a goner, for whenever anybody 
was after anybody I judged it was me or maybe Jim. I was 
about to dig out from there in a hurry, but they was pretty close 
to me then, and sung out and begged me to save their lives 
said they hadn't been doing nothing, and was being chased for 
it said there was men and dogs a-coming. They wanted to 
jump right in, but I says: 

"Don't you do it. I don't hear the dogs and horses yet ; you've 
got time to crowd through the brush and get up the crick a 
little ways; then you take to the water and wade down to me 
and get in that'll throw the dogs off the scent." 

They done it, and soon as they was aboard I lit out for our 
towhead, and in about five or ten minutes we heard the dogs and 
the men away off, shouting. We heard them come along to- 
wards the crick, but couldn't see them ; they seemed to stop and 
fool around awhile; then, as we got further and further away 


all the time, we couldn't hardly hear them at all; by the time 
we had left a mile of woods behind us arid struck the river, 
everything was quiet, and we paddled over to the towhead and 
hid in the cottonwoods and was safe. 

One of these fellows was about seventy or upwards, and had 
a bald head and very gray whiskers. He had an old battered-up 
slouch hat on, and a greasy blue woolen shirt, and ragged old 
blue jeans britches stuffed into his boot-tops, and home-knit 
galluses no, he only had one. He had an old long-tailed blue 
jeans coat with slick brass buttons flung over his arm, and both 
of them had big, fat, ratty-looking carpet-bags. 

The other fellow was about thirty, and dressed about as 
ornery. After breakfast we laid off and talked, and the first 
thing that come out was that these chaps didn't know one an- 

"What got you into trouble?" says the baldhead to t'other 

"Well, I'd been selling an article to take the tartar off the 
teeth and it does take it off, too, and generly the enamel along 
with it but I stayed about one night longer than I ought to, 
and was just in the act of sliding out when I ran across you on 
the trail this side of town, and you told me they were coming, 
and begged me to help you to get off. So I told you I was ex- 
pecting trouble myself, and would scatter out with you. That's 
the whole yarn what's yourn?" 

"Well, I'd been a-runnin' a little temperance revival thar 
'bout a week, and was the pet of the women folks, big and little, 
for I was makin' it mighty warm for the rummies, I tell you, 
and takin' as much as five or six dollars a night ten cents a 
head, children and niggers free and business a-growin' all the 
time, when somehow or another a little report got around last 
night that I had a way of puttin' in my time with a private jug 
on the sly. A nigger rousted me out this mornin', and told me 
the people was getherin' on the quiet with their dogs and horses, 


and they'd be along pretty soon and give me 'bout half an 
hour's start, and then run me down if they could; and if they 
got me they'd tar and feather me and ride me on a rail, sure. 
I didn't wait for no breakfast I warn't hungry." 

"Old man," said the young one, "I reckon we might double- 
team it together; what do you think?" 

"I ain't undisposed. What's your line mainly?" 

"Jour printer by trade ; do a little in patent medicines ; the- 
ater-actor tragedy, you know ; take a turn to mesmerism and 
phrenology when there's a chance; teach singing-geography 
school for a change ; sling a lecture sometimes oh, I do lots of 
things most anything that comes handy, so it ain't work. 
What's your lay?" 

"I've done considerable in the doctoring way in my time. 
Layin' on o' hands is my best holt for cancer and paralysis, 
and sich things; and I k'n tell a fortune pretty good when I've 
got somebody along to find out the facts for me. Preachin's my 
line, too, and workin' camp-meetin's and missionaryin' around." 

Nobody never said anything for a while ; then the young man 
hove a sigh and says : 


"What 're you alassin' about?" says the baldhead. 

"To think I should have lived to be leading such a life, and 
be degraded down in such company." And he begun to wipe the 
corner of his eye with a rag. 

"Dern your skin, ain't the company good enough for you?" 
says the baldhead, pretty pert and uppish. 

"Yes, it is good enough for me ; it's as good as I deserve ; for 
who fetched me so low when I was so high? / did myself. I don't 
blame you, gentlemen far from it ; I don't blame anybody. I 
deserve it all. Let the cold world do its worst ; one thing I know 
there's a grave somewhere for me. The world may go on just 
as it's always done and take everything from me loved ones, 
property, everything; but it can't take that. Some day I'll lie 


down in it and forget it all, and my poor broken heart will be 
at rest." He went on a-wiping. 

"Drot your pore broken heart," says the baldhead; "What 
are you heaving your pore broken heart at us f r? We hain't 
done nothing." 

"No, I know you haven't. I ain't blaming you, gentlemen. I 
brought myself down yes, I did it myself. It's right I should 
suffer perfectly right I don't make any moan." 

"Brought you down from whar? Whar was you brought 
down from?" 

"Ah, you would not believe me; the world never believes 
let it pass 'tis no matter. The secret of my birth " 

"The secret of your birth! Do you mean to say " 

"Gentlemen," says the young man, very solemn, "I will re- 
veal it to you, for I feel I may have confidence in you. By 
rights I am a duke!" 

Jim's eyes bugged out when he heard that; and I reckon 
mine did, too. Then the baldhead says: "No! you can't mean it?" 

"Yes. My great-grandfather, eldest son of Duke of Bridge- 
water, fled to this country about the end of the last century, to 
breathe the pure air of freedom ; married here, and died, leav- 
ing a son, his own father dying about the same time. The second 
son of the late duke seized the titles and estates the infant 
real duke was ignored. I am the lineal descendant of that infant 
I am the rightful Duke of Bridgewater; and here am I, for- 
lorn, torn from my high estate, hunted of men, despised by the 
cold world, ragged, worn, heartbroken, and degraded to the 
companionship of felons on a raft!" 

Jim pitied him ever so much, and so did I. We tried to com- 
fort him, but he said it warn't much use, he couldn't be much 
comforted; said if we was a mind to acknowledge him, that 
would do him more good than most anything else ; so we said we 
would, if he would tell us how. He said we ought to bow when 
we spoke to him, and say "Your Grace," or "My Lord," or 


"Your Lordship" and he wouldn't mind it if we called him 
plain "Bridgewater," which, he said, was a title anyway, and 
not a name ; and one of us ought to wait on him at dinner, and 
do any little thing for him he wanted done. 

Well, that was all easy, so we done it. All through dinner 
Jim stood around and waited on him, and says, "Will yo' Grace 
have some o' dis or some o' dat?" and so on, and a body could 
see it was mighty pleasing to him. 

But the old man got pretty silent by and by didn't have 
much to say, and didn't look pretty comfortable over all that 
petting that was going on around that duke. He seemed to 
have something on his mind. So, along in the afternoon, he 

"Looky here, Bilgewater," he says, "I'm nation sorry for 
you, but you ain't the only person that's had troubles like that." 


"No, you ain't. You ain't the only person that's ben snaked 
down wrongfully out'n a high place." 


"No, you ain't the only person that's had $ secret of his 
birth." And, by jinks, lie begins to cry. 

"Hold! What do you mean?" 

"Bilgewater, kin I trust you?" says the old man, still sort of 

"To the bitter death!" He took the old man by the hand and 
squeezed it, and says, "That secret of your being: speak!" 

"Bilgewater, I am the late Dauphin!" 

You bet you, Jim and me stared this time. Then the duke 

"You are what?" 

"Yes, my friend, it is too true your eyes is lookin' at this 
very moment on the pore disappeared Dauphin, Looy the Sev- 
enteen, son of Looy the Sixteen and Marry Antonette." 

"You! At your age! No! You mean you're the late Charle- 


magne ; you must be six or seven hundred years old, at the very 

"Trouble has done it, Bilgewater, trouble has done it; trou- 
ble has brung these gray hairs and this premature balditude. 
Yes, gentlemen, you see before you, in blue jeans and misery, 
the waiiderin', exiled trampled-on, and sufferin' rightful King 
of France." 

Well, he cried and took on so that me and Jim didn't know 
hardly what to do, we was so sorry and so glad and proud 
we'd got him with us, too. So we set in, like we done before with 
the duke, and tried to comfort him. But he said it warn't no use, 
nothing but to be dead and done with it all could do him any 
good; though he said it often made him feel easier and better 
for a while if people treated him according to his rights, and 
got down on one knee to speak to him, and always called him 
"Your Majesty," and waited on him first at meals, and didn't 
set down in his presence till he asked them. So Jim and me set 
to majestying him, and doing this and that and t'other for him, 
and standing up till he told us we might set down. This done 
him heaps of good, and so he got cheerful and comfortable. But 
the duke kind of soured on him, and didn't look a bit satisfied 
with the way things was going ; still, the king acted real friendly 
towards him, and said the duke's great-grandfather and all the 
other Dukes of Bilgewater was a good deal thought of by his 
father, and was allowed to come to the palace considerable; but 
the duke stayed huffy a good while, till by and by the king says : 

"Like as not we got to be together a blamed long time 011 this 
h-yer raft, Bilgewater, and so what's the use o' your bein' sour? 
It '11 only make things oncomfortable. It ain't my fault I warn't 
born a duke, it ain't your fault you warn't born a king so 
what's the use to worry? Make the best o' things the way you 
find 'em, says I that's my motto. This ain't no bad thing 
that we've struck here plenty grub and an easy life come, 
give us your hand, duke, and le's all be friends." 


The duke done it, and Jim and me was pretty glad to see it. 
It took away all the uncomf ortableness and we felt mighty good 
over it, because it would 'a' been a miserable business to have 
any unfriendliness on the raft; for what you want, above all 
things, on a raft, is for everybody to be satisfied, and feel right 
and kind towards the others. 

It didn't take me long to make up my mind that these liars 
warn't no kings nor dukes at all, but just low-down humbugs 
and frauds. But I never said nothing, never let on; kept it to 
myself; it's the best way; then you don't have no quarrels, and 
don't get into no trouble. If they wanted us to call them kings 
and dukes, I hadn't no objections, 'long as it would keep- peace 
in the family; and it warn't no use to tell Jim, so I didn't tell 
him. If I never learnt nothing else out of pap, I learnt that the 
best way to get along with his kind of people is to let them 
have their own way. 



A HEY asked us considerable many questions; wanted to 
know what we covered up the raft that way for, and laid by in 
the daytime instead of running was Jim a runaway nigger? 
Says I : 

"Goodness sakes! would a runaway nigger run south?" 
No, they allowed he wouldn't. I had to account for things 
some way, so I says : 

"My folks was living in Pike County, in Missouri, where I 
was born, and they all died off but me and pa and my brother 
Ike. Pa, he 'lowed he'd break up and go down and live with 
Uncle Ben, who's got a little one-horse place on the river forty- 
four mile below Orleans. Pa was pretty poor, and had some 
debts; so when he'd squared up there warn't nothing left but 
sixteen dollars and our nigger, Jim. That warn't enough to 
take us fourteen hundred mile, deck passage nor no other way. 
Well, when the river rose pa had a streak of luck one day ; he 



ketched this jpiece of a raft; so we reckoned we'd go down to 
Orleans on it. Pa's luck didn't hold out; a steamboat run over 
the f orrard corner of the raft one night, and we all went over- 
board and dove under the wheel; Jim and me come up all right, 
but pa was drunk, and Ike was only four years old, so they 
never come up no more. Well, for the next day or two we had 
considerable trouble, because people was always coming out in 
skiffs and trying to take Jim away from me, saying they be- 
lieved he was a runaway nigger. We don't run daytimes no 
more now; nights they don't bother us." 

The duke says: 

"Leave me alone to cipher out a way so we can run in the 
daytime if we want to. I'll think the thing over I'll invent a 
plan that'll fix it. We'll let it alone for to-day, because of course 
we don't want to go by that town yonder in daylight it 
mightn't be healthy." 

Towards night it begun to darken up and look like rain ; the 
heat-lightning was squirting around low down in the sky, and 
the leaves was beginning to shiver it was going to be pretty 
ugly, it was easy to see that. So the duke and the king went to 
overhauling our wigwam, to see what the beds was like. My bed 
was a straw tick better than Jim's, which was a corn-shuck tick ; 
there's always cobs around about in a shuck tick, and they poke 
into you and hurt ; and when you roll over the dry shucks sound 
like you was rolling over in a pile of dead leaves ; it makes such 
a rustling that you wake up. Well, the duke allowed he would 
take my bed; but the king allowed he wouldn't. He says: 

"I should 'a' reckoned the difference in rank would a sejested 
to you that a corn-shuck bed warn't just fitten for me to sleep 
on. Your Grace '11 take the shuck bed yourself." 

Jim and me was in a sweat again for a minute, being afraid 
there was going to be some more trouble amongst them ; so we 
was pretty glad when the duke says : 

" 'Tis my fate to be always ground into the mire under the 


iron heel of oppression. Misfortune has broken my once haughty 
spirit; I yield, I submit; 'tis my fate. I am alone in the world 
let me suffer; I can bear it." 

We got away as soon as it was good and dark. The king told 
us to stand well out towards the middle of the river, and not 
show a light till we got a long ways below the town. We come 
in sight of the little bunch of lights by and by that was the 
town, you know and slid by, about a half a mile out, all right. 
When we was three-quarters of a mile below we hoisted up our 
signal lantern; and about ten o'clock it come on to rain and 
blow and thunder arid lighten like everything; so the king told 
us to both stay on watch till the weather got better; then him 
and the duke crawled into the wigwam and turned in for the 
night. It was my watch below till twelve, but I wouldn't 'a' 
turned in anyway if I'd had a bed, because a body don't see 
such a storm as that every day in the week, not by a long sight. 
My souls, how the wind did scream along ! And every second or 
two there'd come a glare that lit up the white-caps for a half a 
mile around and you'd see the islands looking dusty through 
the rain and the trees thrashing around in the wind ; then comes 
a h-whack! bum ! bum ! bumble-umble-um-bum-bum-bum- 
bum and the thunder would go rumbling and grumbling 
away, and quit and then rip comes another flash and another 
sock-dolager. The waves most washed me off the raft some- 
times, but I hadn't any clothes on, and didn't mind. We didn't 
have no trouble about snags; the lightning was glaring and 
flittering around so constant that we could see them plenty 
soon enough to throw her head this way or that and miss them. 

I had the middle watch, you know, but I was pretty sleepy 
by that time, so Jim he said he would stand the first half of it 
for me; he was always mighty good that way, Jim was. I 
crawled into the wigwam, but the king and the duke had their 
legs sprawled around so there warn't no show for me ; so I laid 
outside I didn't mind the rain, because it was warm, and the 


waves warn't running so high now. About two they come up 
again, though, and Jim was going to call me ; but he changed 
his mind, because he reckoned they warn't high enough yet to 
do any harm ; but he was mistaken about that, for pretty soon 
all of a sudden along comes a regular ripper and washed me 
overboard. It most killed Jim a-laughing. He was the easiest 
nigger to laugh that ever was, anyway. 

I took the watch, and Jim he laid down and snored away; 
and by and by the storm let up for good and all; and the first 
cabin-light that showed I rousted him out, and we slid the raft 
into hiding-quarters for the day. 

The king got out an old ratty desk of cards after breakfast, 
and him and the duke played seven-up awhile, five cents a 
game. Then they got tired of it, and allowed they would "lay 
out a campaign," as they called it. The duke went down into 
his carpet-bag, and fetched up a lot of little printed bills and 
read them out loud. One bill said, "The celebrated Dr. Armand 
de Montalban, of Paris," would "lecture on the Science of 
Phrenology," at such and such a place, on the blank day of 
blank, at ten cents admission, and "furnish charts of character 
at twenty-five cents apiece." The duke said that was him. In 
another bill he was the "world-renowned Shakespearian trage- 
dian, Garrick the Younger, of Drury Lane, London." In other 
bills he had a lot of other names and done other wonderful 
things, like finding water and gold with a "divining-rod," "dis- 
sipating witch spells," and so on. By and by he says: 

"But the histrionic muse is the darling. Have you ever trod 
the boards, Royalty?" 

"No," says the king. 

"You shall, then, before you're three days older, Fallen 
Grandeur," says the duke. "The first good town we come to 
we'll hire a hall and do the sword-fight in 'Richard III,' and 
the balcony scene in 'Romeo and Juliet.' How does that strike 

[SEE PAGE 152] 

" Your eyes is lookin at this very moment on the 
pore disappeared Dauphin, Looy the Seventeen." 


"I'm in, up to the hub, for anything that will pay, Bilge- 
water; but, you see, I don't know nothing about play-actin', 
and hain't ever seen much of it. I was too small when pap used 
to have 'em at the palace. Do you reckon you can learn me?" 


"All right. I'm just a-freezin' for something fresh, anyway. 
Le's commence right away." 

So the duke he told him all about who Romeo was and who 
Juliet was, and said he was used to being Romeo, so the king 
could be Juliet. 

"But if Juliet's such a young gal, duke, my peeled head and 
my white whiskers is goin' to look oncommon odd on her, 

"No, don't you worry; these country jakes won't ever think 
of that. Besides, you know, you'll be in costume, and that makes 
all the difference in the world; Juliet's in a balcony, enjoying 
the moonlight before she goes to bed, and she's got on her night- 
gown and her ruffled nightcap. Here are the costumes for the 

He got out two or three curtain-calico suits, which he said 
was meedyevil armor for Richard III. and t'other chap, and a 
long white cotton nightshirt and a ruffled nightcap to match. 
The king was.satisfied ; so the duke got out his book and read 
the parts over in the most splendid spread-eagle way, prancing 
around and acting at the same time, to show how it had got to 
be done ; then he gives the book to the king and told him to get 
his part by heart. 

There was a little one-horse town about three mile down the 
bend, and after dinner the duke said he had ciphered out his 
idea about how to run in daylight without it being dangersome 
for Jim; so he allowed he would go down to the town and fix 
that thing. The king allowed he would go, too, and see if he 
couldn't strike something. We was out of coffee, so Jim said 
I better go along with them in the canoe and get some. 


When w got there there warn't nobody stirring; streets 
empty, and perfectly dead and still, like Sunday. We found 
a sick nigger sunning himself in a back yard, and he said every- 
body that warn't too young or too sick or too old was gone to 
camp-meeting, about two mile back in the woods. The king 
got the directions, and allowed he'd go and work that camp- 
meeting for all it was worth, and I might go, too. 

The duke said what he was after was a printing-office. We 
found it; a little bit of a concern, up over a carpenter-shop 
carpenters and printers all gone to the meeting, and no doors 
locked. It was a dirty, littered-up place, and had ink-marks, 
and handbills with pictures of horses and runaway niggers on 
them, all over the walls. The duke shed his coat arid said he 
was all right now. So me and the king lit out for the camp- 

We got there in about a half an hour fairly^ dripping, for it 
was a most awful hot day. There was as much as a thousand 
people there from twenty mile around. The woods was full of 
teams and wagons, hitched everywhere, feeding out of the 
wagon-troughs and stomping to keep off the flies. There was 
sheds made out of poles and roofed over with branches, where 
they had lemonade and gingerbread to sell, and piles of water- 
melons and green corn and such-like truck. 

The preaching was going on under the same kinds of sheds, 
only they was bigger and held crowds of people. The benches 
was made out of outside slabs of logs, with holes bored in the 
round side to drive sticks into for legs. They didn't have no 
backs. The preachers had high platforms to stand on at one 
end of the sheds. The women had on sun-bonnets ; and some had 
linsey-woolsey frocks, some gingham ones, and a few of the 
young ones had on calico. Some of the young men was bare- 
footed, and some of the children didn't have on any clothes but 
just a tow-linen shirt. Some of the old women was knitting, and 
some of the young folks was courting on the sly. 


The first shed we come to the preacher was lining out a hymn. 
He lined out two lines, everybody sung it, and it was kind of 
grand to hear it, there was so many of them and they done it in 
such a rousing way ; then he lined out two more for them to sing 
and so on. The people woke up more and more, and sung 
louder and louder; and towards the end some begun to groan, 
and some begun to shout. Then the preacher begun to preach, 
and begun in earnest, too; and went weaving first to one side 
of the platform and then the other, and then a-leaning down 
over the front of it, with his arms and his body going all the 
time, and shouting his words out with all his might ; and every 
now and then he would hold up his Bible and spread it open, 
and kind of pass it around this way and that, shouting, "It's 
the brazen serpent in the wilderness! Look upon it and live!" 
And the people would shout out, "Glory A-a,-men!" And so he 
went on, and the people groaning and crying and saying amen: 

"Oh, come to the mourners' bench! come, black with sin! 
(amen!) come, sick and sore! (amen!) come, lame and halt and 
blind! (amen!) come, pore and needy, sunk in shame (a-a-men!) 
come, all that's worn and soiled and suffering! come with a 
broken spirit! come with a contrite heart! come in your rags 
and sin and dirt! the waters that cleanse is free, the door of 
heaven stands open oh, enter in and be at rest!" (a-a-men! 
glory, glory hallelujah!) 

And so on. You couldn't make out what the preacher said 
any more, on account of the shouting and crying. Folks got up 
everywheres in the crowd, and worked their way just by main 
strength to the mourners' bench, with the tears running down 
their faces ; and when all the mourners had got up there to the 
front benches in a crowd, they sung and shouted and flung 
themselves down on the straw, just crazy and wild. 

Well, the first I knowed the king got a-going and you could 
hear him over everybody; and next he went a-charging up 
onto the platform, and the preacher he begged him to speak 


to the people, and he done it. He told them he was a pirate 
been a pirate for thirty years out in the Indian Ocean and his 
crew was thinned out considerable last spring in a fight, and 
he was home now to take out some fresh men, and thanks to 
goodness he'd been robbed last night and put ashore off of a 
steamboat without a cent, and he was glad of it ; it was the bless- 
edest thing that ever happened to him, because he was a changed 
man now, and happy for the first time in his life ; and, poor as 
he was, he was going to start right off and work his way back 
to the Indian Ocean, and put in the rest of his life trying to 
turn the pirates into the true path ; for he could do it better than 
anybody else, being acquainted with all pirate crews in that 
ocean; and though it would take him a long time to get there 
without money, he would get there anyway, and every time 
he convinced a pirate he would say to him, "Don't you thank 
me, don't you give me no credit; it all belongs to them dear 
people in Pokeville camp-meeting, natural brothers and bene- 
factors of the race, and that dear preacher there, the truest 
friend a pirate ever had!" 

And then he busted into tears, and so did everybody. Then 
somebody sings out, "Take up a collection for him, take up a 
collection!" Well, a half a dozen made a jump to do it, but 
somebody sings out, "Let Mm pass the hat around!" Then 
everybody said it, the preacher too. 

So the king went all through the crowd with his hat, swab- 
bing his eyes, and blessing the people and praising them and 
thanking them for being so good to the poor pirates away off 
there ; and every little while the prettiest kind of girls, with the 
tears running down their cheeks, would up and ask him would 
he let them kiss him for to remember him by; and he always 
done it; and some of them he hugged and kissed as many as 
five or six times and he was invited to stay a week ; and every- 
body wanted him to live in their houses, and said they'd think 
it was an honor; but he said as this was the last day of the camp- 


meeting he couldn't do no good, and besides he was in a sweat 
to get to the Indian Ocean right off and go to work on the 

When we got back to the raft and he come to count up he 
found he had collected eighty-seven dollars and seventy-five 
cents. And then he had fetched away a three-gallon jug of 
whisky, too, that he found under a wagon when he was starting 
home through the woods. The king said, take it all around, it 
laid over any day he'd ever put in in the missionarying line. He 
said it warn't no use talking, heathens don't amount to shucks 
alongside of pirates to work a camp-meeting with. 

The duke was thinking he'd been doing pretty well till the 
king come to show up, but after that he didn't think so so much. 
He had set up and printed off two little jobs for farmers in that 
printing office horse bills and took the money, four dollars. 
And he had got in ten dollars' worth of advertisements for the 
paper, which he said he would put in for four dollars if they 
would pay in advance so they done it. The price of the paper 
was two dollars a year, but he took in three subscriptions for 
half a dollar apiece on condition of them paying him in ad- 
vance ; they were going to pay in cordwood and onions as usual, 
but he said he had just bought the concern and knocked down 
the price as low as he could afford it, and was going to run it 
for cash. He set up a little piece of poetry, which he made, 
himself, out of his own head three verses kind of sweet and 
saddish the name of it was, "Yes, crush, cold world, this 
breaking heart" and he left that all set up and ready to print 
in the paper, and didn't charge nothing for it. Well, he took in 
nine dollars and a half, and said he'd done a pretty square day's 
work for it. 

Then he showed us another little job he'd printed and hadn't 
charged for, because it was for us. It had a picture of a runa- 
way nigger with a bundle on a stick over his shoulder, and 
"$200 reward" under it. The reading was all about Jim and 


just described him to a dot. It said he run away from St. 
Jacques's plantation, forty miles below New Orleans, last 
winter, and likely went north, and whoever would catch him 
and send him back he could have the reward and expenses. 

"Now," says the duke, "after to-night we can run in the day- 
time if we want to. Whenever we see anybody coming we can 
tie Jim hand and foot with a rope, and lay him in the wigwam 
and show this handbill and say we captured him up the river, 
and were too poor to travel on a steamboat, so we got this little 
raft on credit from our friends and are going down to get the 
reward. Handcuffs and chains would look still better on Jim, 
but it wouldn't go well with the story of us being so poor. Too 
much like jewelry. Ropes are the correct thing we must pre- 
serve the unities, as we say on the boards." 

We all said the duke was pretty smart, and there couldn't be 
no trouble about running daytimes. We judged we could make 
miles enough that night to get out of the reach of the powwow 
we reckoned the duke's work in the printing-office was going 
to make in that little town ; then we could boom right along if 
we wanted to. 

We laid low and kept still, and never shoved out till nearly 
ten o'clock ; then we slid by, pretty wide away from the town, 
and didn't hoist our lantern till we was clear out of sight of it. 

When Jim called me to take the watch at four in the morn- 
ing, he says : 

"Huck, does you reck'n we gwyne to run acrost any mo' 
kings on dis trip?" 

"No," I says, "I reckon not." 

"Well," says he, "dat's all right, den. I doan' mine one er two 
kings, but dat's enough. Dis one's powerful drunk, en de duke 
ain' much better." 

I found Jim had been trying to get him to talk French, so 
he could hear what it was like ; but he said he had been in this 
country so long, and had so much trouble, he'd forgot it. 


WAS after sun-up now, but we went right on and didn't 
tie up. The king and the duke turned out by and by looking 
pretty rusty; but after they'd jumped overboard and took a 
swim it chippered them up a good deal. After breakfast the 
king he took a seat on the corner of the raft, and pulled off his 
boots and rolled up his britches, and let his legs dangle in the 
water, so as to be comfortable, and lit his pipe, and went to 
getting his "Romeo and Juliet" by heart. When he had got it 
pretty good him and the duke begun to practise it together. The 
duke had to learn him over and over again how to say every 
speech; and he made him sigh, and put his hand on his heart, 
and after a while he said he done it pretty well: "only," he says, 
"you mustn't bellow out Romeo! that way, like a bull you 
must say it soft and sick and languishy, so R-o-o-omeo! that 
is the idea; for Juliet's a dear sweet mere child of a girl, you 
know, and she doesn't bray like a jackass." 



Well, next they got out a couple of long swords that the duke 
made out of oak laths, and begun to practise the sword-fight 
the duke called himself Richard III.; and the way they laid 
on and pranced around the raft was grand to see. But by and 
by the king tripped and fell overboard, and after that they took 
a rest, and had a talk about all kinds of adventures they'd had 
in other times along the river. 

After dinner the duke says : 

"Well, Capet, we'll want to make this a first-class show, you 
know, so I guess we'll add a little more to it. We want a little 
something to answer encores with, anyway." 

"What's onkores, Bilgewater?" 

The duke told him, and then says : 

"I'll answer by doing the Highland fling or the sailor's horn- 
pipe; and you well, let me see oh, I've got it you can do 
Hamlet's soliloquy." 

"Hamlet's which?" 

"Hamlet's soliloquy, you know; the most celebrated thing in 
Shakespeare. Ah, it's sublime, sublime! Always fetches the 
house. I haven't got it in the book I've only got one volume 
but I reckon I can piece it out from memory. I'll just walk up 
and down a minute, and see if I can call it back from recollec- 
tion's vaults." 

So he went to marching up and down, thinking, and frown- 
ing horrible every now and then; then he would hoist up his 
eyebrows ; next he would squeeze his hand on his forehead and 
stagger back and kind of moan ; next he would sigh, and next 
he'd let on to drop a tear. It was beautiful to see him. By and 
by he got it. He told us to give attention. Then he strikes a most 
noble attitude, with one leg shoved forwards, and his arms 
stretched away up, and his head tilted back, looking up at the 
sky; and then he begins to rip and rave and grit his teeth; and 
after that, all through his speech, he howled, and spread around, 
and swelled un his chest, and iust knocked the snots out of anv 


acting ever I see before. This is the speech I learned it, easy 
enough, while he was learning it to the king: 

To be, or not to be; that is the bare bodkin 

That makes calamity of so long life ; 

For who would fardels bear, till Birnam Wood do come to Dunsinane, 

But that the fear of something after death 

Murders the innocent sleep, 

Great nature's second course, 

And makes us rather sling the arrows of outrageous fortune 

Than fly to others that we know not of. 

There's the respect must give us pause: 

Wake Duncan with thy knocking! I would thou couldst; 

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, 

The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, 

The law's delay, and the quietus which his pangs might take, 

In the dead waste and middle of the night, when churchyards yawn 

In customary suits of solemn black, 

But that the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns, 

Breathes forth contagion on the world, 

And thus the native hue of resolution, like the poor cat i' the adage, 

Is sicklied o'er with care, 

And all the clouds that lowered o'er our housetops, 

With this regard their currents turn awry, 

And lose the name of action. 

'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. But soft you, the fair Ophelia: 

Ope not thy ponderous and marble j aws, 

But get thee to a nunnery go ! 

Well, the old man he liked that speech, and he mighty soon 
got it so he could do it first rate. It seemed like he was just born 
for it ; and when he had his hand in and was excited, it was per- 
fectly lovely the way he would rip and tear and rair up behind 
when he was getting it off. 

The first chance we got the duke he had some showbills 
printed ; and after that, for two or three days we floated along, 
the raft was a most uncommon lively place, for there warn't 
nothing but sword-fighting and rehearsing as the duke called 
it going on all the time. One morning, when we was pretty 
well down the state of Arkansaw, we come in sight of a little 



one-horse town in a big bend ; so we tied up about three-quar- 
ters of a mile above it, in the mouth of a crick which was shut 
in like a tunnel by the cypress trees, and all of us but Jim took 
the canoe and went down there to see if there was any chance in 
that place for our show. 

We struck it mighty lucky; there was going to be a circus 
there that afternoon, and the country-people was already be- 
ginning to come in, in all kinds of old shackly wagons, and on 
horses. The circus would leave before night, so our show would 
have a pretty good chance. The duke he hired the court-house, 
and we went around and stuck up our bills. They read like this : 

SHAKESPEREAN REVIVAL! ! ! For One Night Only " 


The World-Renowned Tragedians 

of Drury Lane Theatre, London 



of the Royal Haymarket Theatre, 
Whitechapel, Pudding Lane, Picca- 
dilly, Ixmdon, and the Royal Con- 
tinental Theatres, in their sublime 
Shakesperean Spectacle entitled 

In Romeo and Juliet! ! ! 

Romeo Mr. Oarrick 

i Juliet Mr. Kean 

! ; Assisted by the whole strength 
of the company! 

New costumes, new scenery, new 
appointments I 


The thrilling, masterly, and 

In Richard III! ! I 

Richard III . . . . .Mr. Oarrick 3C 
Richmond Mr. Kean 




By the Illustrious Kean! 

Done by him 800 consecutive nights 

in Paris 

For One Night Only, on account of 
imperative European engagements 

Admission 25 cents 
Children and servants 10 cents 


Then we went loafing around town. The stores and houses 
was most all old, shackly, dried-up frame concerns that hadn't 
ever been painted; they was set up three or four foot above 
ground on stilts, so as to be out of reach of the water when the 
river was overflowed. The houses had little gardens around 
them, but they didn't seem to raise hardly anything^ in them 
but jimpson- weeds, and sunflowers, and ash-piles, and old 
curled-up boots and shoes, and pieces of bottles, and rags, and 
played-out tinware. The fences was made of different kinds 
of boards, nailed on at different times; and they leaned every 
which way, and had gates that didn't generly have but one hinge 
a leather one. Some of the fences had been whitewashed some 
time or another, but the duke said it was in Columbus's time, 
like enough. There was generly hogs in the garden, and people 
driving them out. 

All the stores was along one street. They had white domestic 
awnings in front, and the country-people hitched their horses 
to the awning-posts. There was empty dry-goods boxes under 
the awnings, and loafers roosting on them all day long, whit- 
tling them with their Barlow knives ; and chawing tobacco, and 
gaping and yawning and stretching a mighty ornery lot. 
They generly had on yellow straw hats most as wide as an 
umbrella, but didn't wear no coats nor waistcoats; they called 
one another Bill, and Buck, and Hank, and Joe, and Andy, 
and talked lazy and drawly, and used considerable many cuss- 
words. There was as many as one loafer leaning up against 
every awning-post, and he most always had his hands in his 
britches pocket, except when he fetched them out to lend a 
chaw of tobacco or scratch. What a body was hearing amongst 
them all the time was : 

" Gimme a chaw V tobacker, Hank." 
"Cain't; I hain't got but one chaw left. Ask Bill." 
Maybe Bill he gives him a chaw; maybe he lies and says he 
ain't got none. Some of them kinds of loafers never has a cent 


in the world,- nor a chaw of tobacco of their own. They get all 
their chawing by borrowing; they say to a fellow, "I wish you'd 
len' me a chaw, Jack, I jist this minute give Ben Thompson 
the last chaw I had" which is a lie pretty much every time; 
it don't fool nobody but a stranger ; but Jack ain't no stranger, 
so he says: 

"You give him a chaw, did you? So did your sister's cat's 
grandmother. You pay me back the chaws you've awready 
borry'd off'n me, Lafe Buckner, then I'll loan you one or two 
ton of it, and won't charge you no back intrust, nuther." 
"Well, I did pay you back some of it wunst." 
"Yes, you did 'bout six chaws. You borry'd store tobacker 
and paid back nigger-head." 

Store tobacco is flat black plug, but these fellows mostly 
chaws the natural leaf twisted. When they borrow a chaw they 
don't generly cut it off with a knife, but set the plug in between 
their teeth, and gnaw with their teeth and tug at the plug with 
their hands till they get it in two ; then sometimes the one that 
owns the tobacco looks mournful at it when it's handed back, 
and says, sarcastic: 

"Here, gimme the chaw, and you take the plug." 
All the streets and lanes was just mud; they warn't nothing 
else but mud mud as black as tar and nigh about a foot deep in 
some places, and two or three inches deep in all the places. The 
hogs loafed and grunted around everywheres. You'd see a 
muddy sow and a litter of pigs come lazying along the street 
and whollop herself right down in the way, where folks had 
to walk around her, and she'd stretch out and shut her eyes 
and wave her ears whilst the pigs was milking her, and look 
as happy as if she was t on salary. And pretty soon you'd hear 
a loafer sing out, "Hi! so boy! sick him, Tige!" and away the 
sow would go, squealing most horrible, with a dog or two 
swinging to each ear, and three or four dozen more a-coming; 
and then you would see all the loafers get up and watch the 


thing out of sight, and laugh at the fun and look grateful for 
the noise. Then they'd settle back again till there was a dog- 
fight. There couldn't anything wake them up all over, and 
make them happy all over, like a dog-fight unless it might be 
putting turpentine on a stray dog and setting fire to him, or 
tying a tin pan to his tail and see him run himself to death. 

On the river-front some of the houses was sticking out over 
the bank, and they was bowed and bent, and about ready to 
tumble in. The people had moved out of them. The bank was 
caved away under one corner of some others, and that corner 
was hanging over. People lived in them yet, but it was danger- 
some, because sometimes a strip of land as wide as a house 
caves in at a time. Sometimes a belt of land a quarter of a mile 
deep will start in and cave along and cave along till it all caves 
into the river in one summer. Such a town as that has to be 
always moving back, and ba,ck, and back, because the river's 
always gnawing at it. 

The nearer it got to noon that day the thicker and thicker 
was the wagons and horses in the streets, and more coming 
all the time. Families fetched their dinners with them from the 
country, and eat them in the wagons. There was considerable 
whisky-drinking going on, and I seen three fights. By and by 
somebody sings out: 

"Here comes old Boggs! in from the country for his little 
old monthly drunk; here he comes, boys!" 

All the loafers looked glad; I reckoned they was used to 
having fun out of Boggs. One of them says: 

"Wonder who he's a-gwyne to chaw up this time. If he'd a- 
chawed up all the men he's ben a-gwyne to chaw up in the last 
twenty year he'd have considerable ruputation now." 

Another one says, "I wisht old Boggs 'd threaten me, 'cuz 
then I'd know I warn't gwyne to die for a thousan' year." 

Boggs comes a-tearing along on his horse, whooping and 
yelling like an Injun, and singing out: 


"Clear the track, thar. I'm on the waw-path, and the price 
uv coffins is a-gwyne to raise." 

He was drunk, and weaving about in his saddle; he was 
over fifty year old, and had a very red face. Everybody yelled 
at him and laughed at him and sassed him, and he sassed back, 
and said he'd attend to them and lay them out in their regular 
turns, but he couldn't wait now because he'd come to town to 
kill old Colonel Sherburn, and his motto was, "Meat first, and 
spoon vittles to top off on." 

He see me, and rode up and says: 

"Whar'd you come f'm, boy? You prepared to die?" 

Then he rode on. I was scared, but a man says : 

"He don't mean nothing; he's always a-carryin' on like that 
when he's drunk. He's the best-naturedest old fool in Arkan- 
saw never hurt nobody, drunk nor sober." 

Boggs rode up before the biggest store in to^ra, and bent his 
head down so he could see under the curtain of the awning 
and yells : 

"Come out here, Sherburn! Come out and meet the man you 
swindled. You're the houn' I'm after, and I'm a-gwyne to 
have you, too!" 

And so he went on, calling Sherburn everything he could 
lay his tongue to, and the whole street packed with people lis- 
tening and laughing and going on. By and by a proud-looking 
man about fifty-five and he was a heap the best-dressed man 
in that town, too steps out of the store, and the crowd drops 
back on each side to let him come. He says to Boggs, mighty 
ca'm and slow he says: 

"I'm tired of this, but I'll endure it till one o'clock. Till one 
o'clock, mind no longer. If you open your mouth against me 
only once after that time you can't travel so far but I will 
find you." 

Then he turns and goes in. The crowd looked mighty sober ; 
nobody stirred, and there warn't no more laughing. Boggs rode 


off blackguarding Sherburn as loud as he could yell, all down 
the street ; and pretty soon back he comes and stops before the 
store, still keeping it up. Some men crowded around him and 
tried to get him to shut up, but he wouldn't; they told him it 
would be one o'clock in about fifteen minutes, and so he must 
go home he must go right away. But it didn't do no good. He 
cussed away with all his might, and throwed his hat down in 
the mud and rode over it, and pretty soon away he went a- 
raging down the street again, with his gray hair a-flying. 
Everybody that could get a chance at him tried their best to 
coax him off his horse so they could lock him up and get him 
sober; but it warn't no use up the street he would tear again, 
and give Sherburn another cussing. By arid by somebody says*. 

"Go for his daughter! quick, go for his daughter; some- 
times he'll listen to her. If anybody can persuade him, she can. 5> 

So somebody started on a run. I walked down street a ways 
and stopped. In about five or ten minutes here comes Boggs 
again, but not on his horse. He was a-reeling across the street 
towards me, bareheaded, with a friend on both sides of him 
a-holt of his arms and hurrying him along. He was quiet, and 
looked uneasy ; and he warn't hanging back any, but was doing 
some of the hurrying himself. Somebody sings out: 


I looked over there to see who said it, and it was that Colonel 
Sherburn. He was standing perfectly still in the street, and 
had a pistol raised in his right hand not aiming it, but holding 
it out with the barrel tilted up towards the sky. The same 
second I see a young girl coming on the run, and two men with 
her. Boggs and the men turned round to see who called him, 
and when they see the pistol the men jumped to one side, and 
the pistol-barrel come down slow and steady to a level both 
barrels cocked. Boggs throws up both of his hands and says. 
"O Lord, don't shoot!" Bang! goes the first shot, and he stag- 
gers back, clawing at the air bang! goes the second one, and 


he tumbles backwards onto the ground, heavy and solid, with 
his arms spread out. That young girl screamed out and comes 
rushing, and down she throws herself on her father, crying, 
and saying, "Oh, he's killed him, he's killed him!" The crowd 
closed up around them, and shouldered and jammed one another, 
with their necks stretched, trying to see, and people on the in- 
side trying to shove them back and shouting, "Back, back! 
give him air, give him air!" 

Colonel Sherburn he tossed his pistol onto the ground, and 
turned around on his heels and walked off. 

They took Boggs to a little drug store, the crowd pressing 
around just the same, and the whole town following, and I 
rushed and got a good place at the window, where I was close 
to him and could see in. They laid him on the floor and put one 
large Bible under his head, and opened another one and spread 
it on his breast; but they tore open his shirt rst, and I seen 
where one of the bullets went in. He made about a dozen long 
gasps, his breast lifting the Bible up when he drawed in his 
breath, and letting it down again when he breathed it out 
and after that he laid still; he was dead. Then they pulled his 
daughter away from him, screaming and crying, and took her 
off. She was about sixteen, and very sweet and gentle looking, 
but awful pale and scared. 

Well, pretty soon the who] - town was there, squirming and 
scrouging and pushing and shoving to get at the window and 
have a look, but people that had the places wouldn't give them 
up, and folks behind them was saying all the time, "Say, now, 
you've looked enough, you fellows ; 'tain't right and 'tain't fair 
for you to stay thar all the time, and never give nobody a 
chance; other folks has their rights as well as you." 

There was considerable jawing back, so I slid out, thinking 
maybe there was going to be trouble. The streets was full, and 
everybody was excited. Everybody that seen the shooting was 
telling how it happened, and there was a big crowd packed 


around each one of these fellows, stretching their necks and 
listening. One long, lanky man, with long hair and a big white 
fur stovepipe hat on the back of his head, and a crooked-handled 
cane, marked out the places on the ground where Boggs stood 
and where Sherburn stood, and the people following him 
around from one place to t'other and watching everything he 
done, and bobbing their heads to show they understood, and 
stooping a little and resting their hands on their thighs to watch 
him mark the places on the ground with his cane ; and then he 
stood up straight and stiff where Sherburn had stood, frown- 
ing and having his hat-brim down over his eyes, and sung out, 
"Boggs!" and then fetched his cane down slow to a level, and 
says "Bang!" staggered backwards, says "Bang!" again, and 
fell down flat on his back. The people that had seen the thing 
said he done it perfect; said it was just exactly the way it all 
happened. Then as much as a dozen people got out their bottles 
and treated him. 

Well, by and by somebody said Sherburn ought to be 
lynched. In about a minute everybody was saying it; so away 
they went, mad and yelling, and snatching down every clothes- 
line they come to to do the hanging with. 



AHEY swarmed up towards Sherburn's house, a-whooping 
and raging like Injuns, and everything had to clear the way or 
get run over and trompled to mush, and it was awful to see. 
Children was heeling it ahead of the mob, screaming and trying 
to get out of the way; and every window along the road was 
full of women's heads, and there was nigger boys in every tree, 
and bucks and wenches looking over every fence; and as soon 
as the mob would get nearly to them they would break and 
skaddle back out of reach. Lots of the women and girls was 
crying and taking on, scared most to death. 

They swarmed up in front of Sherburn's palings as thick 
as they could jam together, and you couldn't hear yourself 
think for the noise. It was a little twenty-foot yard. Some sung 
out "Tear down the fence! tear down the fence!" Then there 
was a racket of ripping and tearing and smashing, and down 
she goes, and the front wall of the crowd begins to roll in like 
a wave. 

Just then Sherburn steps out onto the roof of his little front 
porch, with a double-barrel gun in his hand, and takes his stand, 



perfectly ca'm and deliberate, not saying a word. The racket 
stopped, and the wave sucked back. 

Sherburn never said a word just stood there, looking down. 
The stillness was awful creepy and uncomfortable. Sherburn 
run his eye slow along the crowd; and wherever it struck the 
people tried a little to outgaze him, but they couldn't; they 
dropped their eyes and looked sneaky. Then pretty soon Sher- 
burn sort of laughed ; not the pleasant kind, but the kind that 
makes you feel like when you are eating bread that's got sand 
in it. 

Then he says, slow and scornful : 

"The idea of you lynching anybody! It's amusing. The idea 
of you thinking you had pluck enough to lynch a man! Because 
you're brave enough to tar and feather poor friendless cast-out 
women that come along here, did that make you think you had 
grit enough to lay your hands on a man? Why, a mans safe 
in the hands of ten thousand of your kind as long as it's day- 
time and you're not behind him. 

"Do I know you? I know you clear through. I was born and 
raised in the South, and I've lived in the North; so I know the 
average all around. The average man's a coward. In the North 
he lets anybody walk over him that wants to, and goes home 
and prays for a humble spirit to bear it. In the South one man, 
all by himself, has stopped a stage full of men in the daytime, 
and robbed the lot. Your newspapers call you a brave people 
so much that you think you are braver than any other people 
whereas you're just as brave, and no braver. Why don't your 
juries hang murderers? Because they're afraid the man's friends 
will shoot them in the back, in the dark and it's just what they 
would do. 

"So they always acquit; and then a man goes in the night, 
with a hundred masked cowards at his back, and lynches the 
rascal. Your mistake is, that you didn't bring a man with you ; 
that's one mistake, and the other is that you didn't come in the 


dark and fetch your masks. You brought part of a man Buck 
Harkness, there and if you hadn't had him to start you, you'd 
'a' taken it out in blowing. 

"You didn't want to come. The average man don't like 
trouble and danger. You don't like trouble and danger. But 
if only half a man like Buck Harkness, there shouts 'Lynch 
him! lynch him!' you're afraid to back down afraid you'll be 
found out to be what you are cowards and so you raise a 
yell, and hang yourselves onto that half-a-man's coat-tail, and 
come raging up here, swearing what big things you're going 
to do. The pitifulest thing out is a mob; that's what an army 
is a mob; they don't fight with courage that's born in them, 
but with courage that's borrowed from their mass, and from 
their officers. But a mob without any man at the head of it is 
beneath pitifulness. Now the thing for you to do is to droop 
your tails and go home and crawl in a hole. If any real lynch- 
ing's going to be done it will be done in the dark, Southern 
fashion; and when they come they'll bring their masks, and 
fetch a man along. Now leave and take your half-a-man with 
you" tossing his gun up across his left arm and cocking it 
when he says this. 

The crowd washed back sudden, and then broke all apart, 
and went tearing off every which way, and Buck Harkness 
he heeled it after them, looking tolerable cheap. I could 'a' 
stayed if I wanted to, but I didn't want to. 

I went to the circus and loafed around the back side till the 
watchman went by, and then dived in under the tent. I had 
my twenty-dollar gold piece and some other money, but I 
reckoned I better save it, because there ain't no telling how 
soon you are going to need it, away from home and amongst 
strangers that way. You can't be too careful. I ain't opposed to 
spending money on circuses when there ain't no other way, 
but there ain't no use in wasting it on them. 

It was a real bully circus. It was the splendidest sight that 


ever was when they all come riding in, two and two, and gen- 
tleman and lady, side by side, the men just in their drawers and 
undershirts, and no shoes nor stirrups, and resting their hands on 
their thighs easy and comfortable there must 'a' been twenty 
of them and every lady with a lovely complexion and per- 
fectly beautiful, and looking just like a gang of real sure-enough 
queens, and dressed in clothes that cost millions of dollars, and 
just littered with diamonds. It was a powerful fine sight; I 
never see anything so lovely. And then one by one they got up 
and stood, and went a-weaving around the ring so gentle and 
wavy and graceful, the men looking ever so tall and airy and 
straight, with their heads bobbing and skimming along, away 
up there under the tent-roof, and every lady's rose-leafy dress 
flapping soft and silky around her hips, and she looking like 
the most loveliest parasol. 

And then faster and faster they went, all of them dancing, 
first one foot out in the air and then the other, the horses lean- 
ing more and more, and the ringmaster going round and round 
the center pole, cracking his whip and shouting "Hi! hi!" and 
the clown cracking jokes behind him; and by and by all hands 
dropped the reins, and every lady put her knuckles on her hips 
and every gentleman folded his arms, and then how the horses 
did lean over and hump themselves ! And so one after the other 
they all skipped off into the ring, and made the sweetest bow 
I ever see, and then scampered out, and everybody clapped 
their hands and went just about wild. 

Well, all through the circus they done the most astonishing 
things ; and all the time that clown carried on so it most killed 
the people. The ringmaster couldn't ever say a word to him 
but he was back at him quick as a wink with the funniest things 
a body ever said; and how he ever could think of so many of 
them, and so sudden and so pat, was what I couldn't no way 
understand. Why, I couldn't 'a' thought of them in a year. 
And by and by a drunken man tried to get into the ring 


said he wanted to ride; said he could ride as well as anybody 
that ever was. They argued and tried to keep him out, but he 
wouldn't listen, and the whole show come to a standstill. Then 
the people begun to holler at him and make fun of him, and 
that made him mad, and he begun to rip and tear; so that 
stirred up the people, and a lot of men begun to pile down off 
of the benches and swarm toward the ring, saying, "Knock 
him down! throw him out!" and one or two women begun to 
scream. So, then, the ringmaster he made a little speech, and 
said he hoped there wouldn't be no disturbance, and if the man 
would promise he wouldn't make no more trouble he would let 
him ride if he thought he could stay on the horse. So everybody 
laughed and said all right, and the man got on. The minute he 
was on, the horse begun to rip and tear and jump and cavort 
around, with two circus men hanging on to his bridle trying 
to hold him, and the drunken man hanging oi\ to his neck, and 
his heels flying in the air every jump, and the whole crowd 
of people standing up shouting and laughing till tears rolled 
down. And at last, sure enough, all the circus men could do, 
the horse broke loose, and away he went like the very nation, 
round and round the ring, with that sot laying down on him 
and hanging to his neck, with first one leg hanging most to the 
ground on one side, and then t'other one on t'other side, and 
the people just crazy. It warn't funny to me, though; I was 
all of a tremble to see his danger. But pretty soon he struggled 
up astraddle and grabbed the bridle, a-reeling this way and 
that; and the next minute he sprung up and dropped the bridle 
and stood! and the horse a-goirig like a house afire, too. He just 
stood up there, a-sailing around as easy and comfortable as if 
he warn't ever drunk in his life and then he begun to pull off 
his clothes and sling them. He shed them so thick they kind of 
clogged the air, and altogether he shed seventeen suits. And, 
then, there he was, slim and handsome, and dressed the gaudiest 
and prettiest you ever saw, and he lit into that horse with his 


whip and made him fairly hum and finally skipped off, and 
made his bow and danced off to the dressing-room, and every- 
body just a-howling with pleasure and astonishment. 

Then the ringmaster he see how he had been fooled, and he 
was the sickest ringmaster you ever see, I reckon. Why, it was 
one of his own men! He had got up that joke all out of his own 
head, and never let on to nobody. Well, I felt sheepish enough 
to be took in so, but I wouldn't 'a' been in that ringmaster's 
place, not for a thousand dollars. I don't know; there may be 
bullier circuses than what that one was, but I never struck 
them yet. Anyways, it was plenty good enough for me; and 
wherever I run across it, it can have all of my custom every 

Well, that night we had our show; but there warn't only 
about twelve people there just enough to pay expenses. And 
they laughed all the time, and that made the duke mad; and 
everybody left, anyway, before the show was over, but one boy 
which was asleep. So the duke said these Arkansaw lunkheads 
couldn't come up to Shakespeare; what they wanted was low 
comedy and maybe something ruther worse than low comedy, 
he reckoned. He said he could size their style. So next morning 
he got some big sheets of wrapping-paper and some black 
paint, and drawed off some handbills, and stuck them up all 
over the village. The bills said: 

AT THE COURT HOUSE! For 3 Nights Only! f 

The World-Renowned Tragedians \ In their- Thrilling Tragedy of ;| 


V ; ? 

3j! AND < OR 1r 


& Of the London ;3 - ** - 3j! 

$ and Continental Theatres 3 Admission 50 cents 3 

3? ] % 



Then at 'the bottom was the biggest line of all, which said : 

"There," says he, "if that line don't fetch them, I don't 
know Arkansaw!" 


ELL, all day him and the king was hard at it, rigging 
up a stage and a curtain and a row of candles for footlights; 
and that night the house was jam full of men in no time. When 
the place couldn't hold no more, the duke he quit tending the 
door and went around the back way and come onto the stage 
and stood up before the curtain and made a little speech, and 
praised up this tragedy, arid said it was the most thrillingest 
one that ever was; and so he went on a-bragging about the 
tragedy, and about Edmund Kean the Elder, which was to 
play the main principal part in it; and at last when he'd got 
everybody's expectations up high enough, he rolled up the cur- 
tain, and the next minute the king come a-prancing out on all 
fours, naked; and he was painted all over, ring-streaked-and- 
striped, all sorts of colors, as splendid as a rainbow. And but 
never mind the rest of his outfit; it was just wild, but it was 
awful funny. The people most killed themselves laughing ; and 
when the king got done capering and capered off behind the 



scenes, they roared and clapped and stormed and haw-hawed 
till he come back and done it over again, and after that they 
made him do it another time. Well, it would make a cow laugh 
to see the shines that old idiot cut. 

Then the duke he lets the curtain down, and bows to the peo- 
ple, and says the great tragedy will be performed only two 
nights more, on accounts of pressing London engagements, 
where the seats is all sold already for it in Drury Lane; and 
then he makes them another bow, and says if he has succeeded 
in pleasing them and instructing them, he will be deeply 
obleeged if they will mention it to their friends and get them 
to come and see it. 

Twenty people sings out: 

"What, is it over? Is that all?" 

The duke says yes. Then there was a fine time. Everybody 
sings out, "Sold!" and rose up mad, and was ^a-going for that 
stage and them tragedians. But a big, fine-looking man jumps 
up on a bench and shouts: 

"Hold on! Just a word, gentlemen." They stopped to listen. 
"We are sold mighty badly sold. But we don't want to be the 
laughing-stock of this whole town, I reckon, and never hear 
the last of this thing as long as we live. No. What we want is to 
go out of here quiet, and talk this show up, and sell the rest of 
the town! Then we'll all be in the $ame boat. Ain't that sensi- 
ble?" ("You bet it is! the jedge is right!" everybody sings 
out.) "All right, then not a word about any sell. Go along 
home, and advise everybody to come and see the tragedy." 

Next day you couldn't hear nothing around that town but 
how splendid that show was. House was jammed again that 
night, and we sold this crowd the same way. When me and the 
king and the duke got home to the raft we all had a supper; 
and by and by, about midnight, they made Jim and me back 
her out and float her down the middle of the river, and fetch her 
in and hide her about two mile below town. 


The third night the house was crammed again and they 
warn't new-comers this time, but people that was at the show 
the other two nights. I stood by the duke at the door, and I 
see that every man that went in had his pockets bulging, or 
something muffled up under his coat and I see it warn't no 
perfumery, neither, not by a long sight. I smelt sickly eggs by 
the barrel, and rotten cabbages, and such things ; and if I know 
the signs of a dead cat being around, and I bet I do, there was 
sixty-four of them went in. I shoved in there for a minute, but 
it was too various for me; I couldn't stand it. Well, when the 
place couldn't hold no more people the duke he give a fellow 
a quarter and told him to tend door for him a minute, and then 
he started around for the stage door, I after him ; but the minute 
we turned the corner and was in the dark he says : 

"Walk fast now till you get away from the houses, and then 
shin for the raft like the dickens was after you!'' 

I done it, and he done the same. We struck the raft at the 
same time, and in less than two seconds we was gliding down- 
stream, all dark and still, and edging towards the middle of 
the river, nobody saying a word. I reckoned the poor king 
was in for a gaudy time of it with the audience, but nothing 
of the sort ; pretty soon he crawls out from under the wigwam, 
and says: 

"Well, how'd the old thing pan out this time, duke?" He 
hadn't been up-town at all. 

We never showed a light till we was about ten mile below 
the village. Then we lit up and had a supper, and the king and 
the duke fairly laughed their bones loose over the way they'd 
served them people. The duke says: 

"Greenhorns, flatheads! I knew the first house would keep 
mum and let the rest of the town get roped in; and I knew 
they'd lay for us the third night, and consider it was their turn 
now. Well, it is their turn, and I'd give something to know how 
much they'd take for it. I would just like to know how they're 


putting in their opportunity. They can turn it into a picnic if 
they want to they brought plenty provisions/' 

Them rapscallions took in four hundred and sixty-five dol- 
lars in that three nights. I never see money hauled in by the 
wagon-load like that before. 

By and by, when they was asleep and snoring, Jim says : 

"Don't it s'prise you de way dem kings carries on, Huck?" 

"No," I says, "it don't." 

"Why don't it, Huck?" 

"Well, it don't, because it's in the breed. I reckon they're 
all alike." 

"But, Huck, dese kings o' ourn is reglar rapscallions; dat's 
jist what dey is; dey's reglar rapscallions," 

"Well, that's what I'm a-saying; all kings is mostly rapscal- 
lions, as fur as I can make out." 

"Is dat so?" 

"You read about them once you'll see. Look at Henry the 
Eight ; this 'n' 's a Sunday-school Superintendent to him. And 
look at Charles Second, and Louis Fourteen, and Louis Fif- 
teen, and James Second, and Edward Second, and Richard 
Third, and forty more ; besides all them Saxon heptarchies that 
used to rip around so in old times and raise Cain. My, you 
ought to seen old Henry the Eight when he was in bloom. He 
was a blossom. He used to marry a new wife every day, and 
chop off her head next morning. And he would do it just as 
indifferent as if he was ordering up eggs. 'Fetch up Nell 
Gwynn,' he says. They fetch her up. Next morning, 'Chop off 
her head!' And they chop it off. 'Fetch up Jane Shore,' he says; 
and up she comes. Next morning, 'Chop off her head' and 
they chop it off. 'Ring up Fair Rosamun.' Fair Rosamun 
answers the bell. Next morning, 'Chop off her head.' And he 
made every one of them tell him a tale every night ; and he kept 
that up till he had hogged a thousand and one tales that way, 
and then he put them all in a book, and called it Domesday 


Book which was a good name and stated the case. You don't 
know kings, Jim, but I know them; and this old rip of ourri 
is one of the cleanest I've struck in history. Well, Henry he 
takes a notion he wants to get up some trouble with this coun- 
try. How does he go at it give notice? give the country a 
show? No. All of a sudden he heaves all the tea in Boston 
Harbor overboard, and whacks out a declaration of independ- 
ence, and dares them to come on. That was his style he never 
give anybody a chance. He had suspicions of his father, the 
Duke of Wellington. Well, what did he do? Ask him to show 
up? No drownded him in a butt of mamsey, like a cat. S'pose 
people left money laying around where he was what did he 
do? He collared it. S'pose he contracted to do a thing, and you 
paid him, and didn't set down there and see that he done it 
what did he do? He always done the other thing. S'pose he 
opened his mouth what then? If he didn't shut it up powerful 
quick he'd lose a lie every time. That's the kind of a bug Henry 
was; and if we'd 'a' had him along 'stead of our kings he'd 
'a' fooled that town a heap worse than ourn done. I don't say 
that ourn is lambs, because they ain't, when you come right 
down to the cold facts ; but they ain't nothing to that old ram, 
anyway. All I say is, kings is kings, and you got to make allow- 
ances. Take them all around, they're a mighty ornery lot. It's 
the way they're raised." 

"But dis one do smell so like de nation, Huck." 
"Well, they all do, Jim. We can't help the way a king smells ; 
history don't tell no way." 

"Now de duke, he's a tolerble likely man in some ways." 
"Yes, a duke's different. But not very different. This one's 
a middling hard lot for a duke. When he's drunk there ain't 
no near-sighted man could tell him from a king." 

"Well, anyways, I doan' hanker for no mo' un um, Huck. 
Dese is all I kin stan'." 

"It's the way I feel, too, Jim. But we've got them on our 


hands, and we got to remember what they are, and make allow- 
ances. Sometimes I wish we could hear of a country that's out 
of kings." 

What was the use to tell Jim these warn't real kings and 
dukes? It wouldn't 'a' done no good; and, besides, it was just 
as I said: you couldn't tell them from the real kind. 

I went to sleep, and Jim didn't call me when it was my turn. 
He often done that. When I waked up just at daybreak he 
was sitting there with his head dow r n betwixt his knees, moaning 
and mourning to himself. I didn't take notice nor let on. I 
knowed what it was about. He was thinking about his wife and 
his children, away up yonder, and he was low and homesick; 
because he hadn't ever been away from home before in his life; 
and I do believe he cared just as much for his people as white 
folks does for their'n. It don't seem natural, but I reckon it's so. 
He was often moaning and mourning that way nights, when 
he judged I was asleep, and saying, "Po' little 'Lizabeth! po' 
little Johnny! it's mighty hard; I s'pec I ain't ever gwyne to 
see you no mo', no mo'!" He was a mighty good nigger, Jim 

But this time I somehow got to talking to him about his 
wife and young ones ; and by and by he says : 

"What makes me feel so bad dis time 'uz bekase I hear 
sumpn over yonder on de bank like a whack, er a slam, while 
ago, en it mine me er de time I treat my little 'Lizabeth so 
ornery. She warn't on'y 'bout fo' year ole, en she tuck de 
sk'yarlet fever, en had a powful rough spell; but she got well, 
en one day she was a-stannin' aroun', en I says to her, I says : 

" 'Shet de do'/ 

"She never done it; jis' stood dah, kiner smilin' up at me. 
It make me mad ; en I says ag'in, mighty loud, I says : 

" T)oan' you hear me? Shet de do'!' 

"She jis stood de same way, kiner smilin' up. I was a-bilin'l 
I says: 


" 'I lay I make you mine!' 

"En wid dat I fetch' her a slap side de head dat sont her 
a-sprawlin'. Deri I went into de yuther room, en 'uz gone "bout 
ten minutes; en when I come back dah was dat do' a-stannin' 
open yitj en dat chile stannin' mos' right in it, a-lookiri' down 
and mournin', en de tears runnin' down. My, but I wuz mad. 
I was a-gwyne for de chile, but jis' den it was a do' dat open 
innerds jis' den, 'long come de wind en slam it to, behine de 
chile, ker-frZam/ en my Ian', de chile never move'! My breff 
mos' hop outer me ; en I feel so so I doan' know how I feel. 
I crope out, all a-tremblin', en crope aroun' en open de do' easy 
en slow, en poke my head in behine de chile, sof en still, en 
all uv a sudden I says pow! jis as loud as I could yell. She never 
budge! Oh, Huck, I bust out a-cryin' en grab her up in my 
Qrms, en say, 'Oh, de po' little thing! De Lord God Almighty 
fogive po' ole Jim, kaze he never gwyne to fogive hisself as 
long's he live!' Oh, she was plumb deef en dumb, Huck, plumb 
deef en dumb en I'd ben a-treat'n her so!" 



I EXT day, towards night, we laid up under a little willow 
towhead out in the middle, where there was a village on each 
side of the river, and the duke and the king begun to lay out 
a plan for working them towns. Jim he spoke to the duke, and 
said he hoped it wouldn't take but a few hours, because it got 
mighty heavy and tiresome to him when he had to lay all day 
in the wigwam tied with the rope. You see, when we left him 
all alone we had to tie him, because if anybody happened on to 
him all by himself and not tied it wouldn't look much like he 
was a runaway nigger, you know. So the duke said it was kind 
of hard to have to lay roped all day, and he'd cipher out some 
way to get around it. 

He was uncommon bright, the duke was, and he soon struck 
it. He dressed Jim up in King Lear's outfit it was a long 
curtain-calico gown, and a white horse-hair wig and whiskers; 
and then he took his theater paint and painted Jim's face and 
hands and ears and neck all over a dead, dull solid blue, like 
a man that's been drownded nine days. Blamed if he warn't the 
horriblest-looking outrage I ever see. Then the duke took and 
wrote out a sign on a shingle so: 

Sick Arab but harmless when not out of his head. 


[SEE PAGE 198] 

"Then for three minutes, or maybe jour, I never 
see two men leak the way they done\" 


And he nailed that shingle to a lath, and stood the lath up 
four or five foot in front of the wigwam. Jim was satisfied. He 
said it was a sight better than lying tied a couple of years every 
day, and trembling all over every time there was a sound. The 
duke told him to make himself free and easy, and if anybody 
ever come meddling around, he must hop out of the wigwam, 
and carry on a little, and fetch a howl or two like a wild beast, 
and he reckoned they would light out and leave him alone. 
Which was sound enough judgment; but you take the average 
man, and he wouldn't wait for him to howl. Why, he didn't 
only look like he was dead, he looked considerable more than 

These rapscallions wanted to try the Nonesuch again, be- 
cause there was so much money in it, but they judged it 
wouldn't be safe, because may be the news might V worked 
along down by this time. They couldn't hit no project that 
suited exactly; so at last the duke said he reckoned he'd lay 
off and work his brains an hour or two and see if he couldn't 
put up something on the Arkansaw village; and the king he 
allowed he would drop over to t'other village without any plan, 
but just trust in Providence to lead him the profitable way 
meaning the devil, I reckon. We had all bought store clothes 
where we stopped last; and now the king put his'n on, and he 
told me to put mine on. I done it, of course. The king's duds 
was all black, and he did look real swell and starchy. I never 
knowed how clothes could change a body before. Why, before, 
he looked like the orneriest old rip that ever was ; but now, when 
he'd take off his new white beaver and make a bow and do a 
smile, he looked that grand and good and pious that you'd say 
he had walked right out of the ark, and maybe was old Levit- 
icus himself. Jim cleaned up the canoe, and I got my paddle 
ready. There was a big steamboat laying at the shore away 
up under the point, about three mile above the town been 
there a couple of hours, taking on freight. Says the king: 


"Seein' how I'm dressed, I reckon maybe I better arrive 
down from St. Louis or Cincinnati, or some other big place. 
Go for the steamboat, Huckleberry; we'll come down to the 
village on her." 

I didn't have to be ordered twice to go and take a steamboat 
ride. I fetched the shore a half a mile above the village, and 
then went scooting along the bluff bank in the easy water. 
Pretty soon we come to a nice innocent-looking young country 
jake setting on a log swabbing the sweat off of his face, for it 
was powerful warm weather ; and he had a couple of big carpet- 
bags by him. 

"Run her nose inshore," says the king. I done it. "Wher' 
you bound for, young man?" 

"For the steamboat; going to Orleans." 

"Git aboard," says the king. "Hold on a minute, my servant 
'11 he'p you with them bags. Jump out and he'p the gentleman, 
Adolphus" meaning me, I see. 

I done so, and then we all three started on again. The young 
chap was mighty thankful; said it was tough work toting his 
baggage such weather. He asked the king where he was going, 
and the king told him he'd come down the river and landed at 
the other village this morning, and now he was going up a few 
mile to see an old friend on a farm up there. The young fellow 

"When I first see you I says to myself, 'It's Mr. Wilks, 
sure, and he come mighty near getting here in time.' But then 
I says again, 'No, I reckon it ain't him, or else he wouldn't be 
paddling up the river.' You ain't him, are you?" 

"No, my name's Blodgett Elexander Blodgett Reverend 
Elexander Blodgett, I s'pose I must say, as I'm one o' the 
Lord's poor servants. But still I'm jist as able to be sorry for 
Mr. Wilks for not arriving in time, all the same, if he's missed 
anything by it which I hope he hasn't." 

"Well, he don't miss any property by it, because he'll get 


that all right; but he's missed seeing his brother Peter die 
which he mayn't mind, nobody can tell as to that but his 
brother would 'a' give anything in this world to see him before 
he died ; never talked about nothing else all these three weeks ; 
hadn't seen him since they was boys together an$ hadn't ever 
seen his brother William at all that's the deef and dumb one 
William ain't more than thirty or thirty-five. Peter and 
George were the only ones that come out here ; George was the 
married brother ; him and his wife both died last year. Harvey 
and William's the only ones that's left now; and, as I was 
saying, they haven't got here in time." 

"Did anybody send 'em word?" 

"Oh, yes; a month or two ago, when Peter was first took; 
because Peter said then that he sorter felt like he warn't going 
to get well this time. You see, he was pretty old, and George's 
g'yirls was too young to be much company for him, except 
Mary Jane, the red-headed one; and so he was kinder lonesome 
after George and his wife died, and didn't seem to care much 
to live. He most desperately wanted to see Harvey and Wil- 
liam, too, for that matter because he was one of them kind 
that can't bear to make a will. He left a letter behind for Har- 
vey, and said he'd told in it where his money was hid, and how 
he wanted the rest of the property divided up so George's 
g'yirls would be all right for George didn't leave nothing. 
And that letter was all they could get him to put a pen to." 

"Why do you reckon Harvey don't come? Wher' does he 

"Oh, he lives in England Sheffield preaches there hasn't 
ever been in this country. He hasn't had any too much time 
and besides he mightn't 'a' got the letter at all, you know." 

"Too bad, too bad he couldn't 'a' lived to see his brothers, 
poor soul. You going to Orleans, you sayl" 

"Yes, but that ain't only a part of it. I'm going in a ship, 
next Wednesday, for Ryo Janeero, where my uncle lives." 


"It's a pretty long journey. But it'll be lovely; I wisht I 
was a-going. Is Mary Jane the oldest? How old is the others?" 

"Mary Jane's nineteen, Susan's fifteen, and Joanna's about 
fourteen that's the one that gives herself to good works and 
has a hare-lip." 

"Poor things! to be left alone in the cold world so." 

"Well, they could be worse off. Old Peter had friends, and 
they ain't going to let them come to no harm. There's Hobson, 
the Babtis' preacher; and Deacon Lot Hovey, and Ben 
Rucker, and Abner Shackleford, and Levi Bell, the lawyer; 
and Dr. Robinson, and their wives, and the widow Hartley, 
and well, there's a lot of them; but these are the ones that 
Peter was thickest with, and used to write about sometimes, 
when he wrote home; so Harvey '11 know where to look for 
friends when he gets here." 

Well, the old man went on asking questions till he just fairly 
emptied that young fellow. Blamed if he didn't inquire about 
everybody and everything in that blessed town, and all about 
the Wilkses; and about Peter's business which was a tanner; 
and about George's which was a carpenter; and about Har- 
vey's which was a dissentering minister ; and so on, and so on. 
Then he says: 

"What did you want to walk all the way up to the steam- 
boat for?" 

"Because she's a big Orleans boat, and I was afeard she 
mightn't stop there. When they're deep they won't stop for a 
hail. A Cincinnati boat will, but this is a St. Louis one." 

"Was Peter Wilks well off?" 

"Oh, yes, pretty well off. He had houses and land, and it's 
reckoned he left three or four thousand in cash hid up som'ers." 

"When did you say he died?" 

"I didn't say, but it was last night." 

"Funeral to-morrow, likely?" 


"Yes, 'bout the middle of the day." 

"Well, it's all terrible sad; but we've all got to go, one time 
or another. So what we want to do is to be prepared; then we're 
all right." 

"Yes, sir, it's the best way. Ma used to always say that." 

When we struck the boat she was about done loading, and 
pretty soon she got off. The king never said nothing about go- 
ing aboard, so I lost my ride, after all. When the boat was gone 
the king made me paddle up another mile to a lonesome place, 
and then he got ashore and says : 

"Now hustle back, right off, and fetch the duke up here, 
and the new carpet bags. And if he's gone over to t'other side, 
go over there and git him. And tell him to git himself up re- 
gardless. Shove along, now." 

I see what lie was up to; but I never said nothing, of course. 
When I got back with the duke we hid the canoe, and then thej> 
set down on a log, and the king told him everything, just like 
the young fellow had said it every last word of it. And all 
the time he was a-doing it he tried to talk like an Englishman ; 
and he done it pretty well, too, for a slouch. I can't imitate him, 
and so I ain't a-going to try to; but he really done it pretty 
good. Then he says : 

"How are you on the deef and dumb, Bilgewater?" 

The duke said, leave him alone for that ; said he had played 
a deef and dumb person on the histrionic boards. So then they 
waited for a steamboat. 

About the middle of the afternoon a couple of little boats 
come along, but they didn't come from high enough up the 
river; but at last there was a big one, and they hailed her. She 
sent out her yawl, and we went aboard, and she was from Cin- 
cinnati; and when they found we only wanted to go four or 
five mile they was booming mad, and gave us a cussing, and 
said they wouldn't land us. But the king was ca'm. He says : 


"If gentlemen kin afford to pay a dollar a mile apiece to be 
took on and put off in a yawl, a steamboat kin afford to carry 
'em, can't it?" 

So they softened down and said it was all right; and when 
we got to the village they yawled us ashore. About two dozen 
men flocked down when they see the yawl a-coming, and when 
the king says : 

"Kin any of you gentlemen tell me wher' Mr. Peter Wilks 
lives?" they give a glance at one another, and nodded their 
heads, as much as to say, "What 'd I tell you?" Then one of 
them says, kind of soft and gentle: 

"I'm sorry, sir, but the best we can do is to tell you where 
he did live yesterday evening." 

Sudden as winking the ornery old cretur went all to smash, 
and fell up against the man, and put his chin on his shoulder, 
and cried down his back, and says: 

"Alas, alas, our poor brother gone, and we never got to see 
him; oh, it's too, too hard!" 

Then he turns around, blubbering, and makes a lot of idiotic 
signs to the duke on his hands, and blamed if he didn't drop a 
carpet-bag and bust out a-crying. If they warn't the beatenest 
lot, them two frauds, that ever I struck. 

Well, the men gathered around and sympathized with them, 
and said all sorts of kind things to them, and carried their 
carpet-bags up the hill for them, and let them lean on them and 
cry, and told the king all about his brother's last moments, and 
the king he told it all over again on his hands to the duke, 
and both of them took on about that dead tanner like they'd 
lost the twelve disciples. Well, if ever I struck anything like it, 
I'm a nigger. It was enough to make a body ashamed of the 
human race. 


. HE news was all over town in two minutes, and you could 
see the people tearing down on the run from every which way, 
some of them putting on their coats as they come. Pretty soon 
we was in the middle of a crowd, and the noise of the tramping 
was like a soldier march. The windows and dooryards was full; 
and every minute somebody would say, over a fence: 

"Is it them?" 

And somebody trotting along with the gang would answer 
back and say: 

"You bet it is." 

When we got to the house the street in front of it was packed, 
and the three girls was standing in the door. Mary Jane was 
red-headed, but that don't make no difference, she was most 
awful beautiful, and her face and her eyes was all lit up like 
glory, she was so glad her uncles was come. The king he spread 
his arms, and Mary Jane she jumped for them, and the hare- 



lip jumped for the duke, and there they had it! Everybody 
most, leastways women, cried for joy to see them meet again 
at last and have such good times. 

Then the king he hunched the duke private I see him do 
it and then he looked around and see the coffin, over in the 
corner on two chairs; so then him and the duke, with a hand 
across each other's shoulder, and t'other hand to their eyes, 
walked slow and solemn over there, everybody dropping back 
to give them room, and all the talk and noise stopping, people 
saying " 'Sh!" and all the men taking their hats off and droop- 
ing their heads, so you could 'a' heard a pin fall. And when they 
got there they bent over and looked in the coffin, and took one 
sight, and then they bust out a-crying so you could 'a' heard 
them to Orleans, most; and then they put their arms around 
each other's necks, and hung their chins over each other's 
shoulders ; and then for three minutes, or maybe four, I never 
see two men leak the way they done. And, mind you, every- 
body was doing the same ; and the place was that damp I never 
see anything like it. Then one of them got on one side of the 
coffin, and t'other on t'other side, and they kneeled down and 
rested their foreheads on the coffin, and let on to pray all to 
themselves. Well, when it come to that it worked the crowd 
like you never see anything like it, and everybody broke down 
and went to sobbing right out loud the poor girls, too; and 
every woman nearly, went up to the girls, without saying a 
word, and kissed them, solemn, on the forehead, and then put 
their hand on their head, and looked up towards the sky, with 
the tears running down, and then busted out and went off sob- 
bing and swabbing, and give the next woman a show. I never 
see anything so disgusting. 

Well, by and by the king he gets up and comes forward a 
little, and works himself up and slobbers out a speech, all full 
of tears and flapdoodle, about its being a sore trial for him 
and his poor brother to lose the diseased, and to miss seeing 


diseased alive after the long journey of four thousand mile, 
but it's a trial that's sweetened and sanctified to us by this dear 
sympathy and these holy tears, and so he thanks them out of 
his heart and out of his brother's heart, because out of their 
mouths they can't, words being too weak and cold, and all that 
kind of rot and slush, till it was just sickening; and then he 
blubbers out a pious goody-goody Amen, and turns himself 
loose and goes to crying fit to bust. 

And the minute the words were out of his mouth somebody 
over in the crowd struck up the doxolojer, and everybody joined 
in with all their might, and it just warmed you up and made 
you feel as good as church letting out. Music is a good thing; 
and after all that soul-butter and hogwash I never see it freshen 
up things so, and sound so honest and bully. 

Then the king begins to work his jaw again, and says how 
him and his nieces would be glad if a few of the main principal 
friends of the family would take supper here with them this 
evening, and help set up with the ashes of the diseased; and 
says if his poor brother laying yonder could speak he knows 
who he would name, for they was names that was very dear to 
him, and mentioned often in his letters ; and so he will name the 
same, to wit, as follows, viz. : Rev. Mr. Hobson, and Deacon 
Lot Hovey, and Mr. Ben Rucker, and Abner Shacklef ord, and 
Levi Bell, and Dr. Robinson, and their wives, and the widow 

Rev. Hobson and Dr. Robinson was down to the end of the 
town a-hunting together that is, I mean the doctor was ship- 
ping a sick man to t'other world, and the preacher was pinting 
him right. Lawyer Bell was away up to Louisville on business. 
But the rest was on hand, and so they all come and shook hands 
with the king and thanked him and talked to him; and then 
they shook hands with the duke and didn't say nothing, but 
just kept a-smiling and bobbing their heads like a passel of 
sapheads whilst he made all sorts of signs with his hands and 


said "Goo-goo goo-goo-goo" all the time, like a baby that 
can't talk. 

So the king he blattered along, and managed to inquire about 
pretty much everybody and dog in town, by his name, and 
mentioned all sorts of little things that happened one time or 
another in the town, or to George's family, or to Peter. And 
he always let on that Peter wrote him the things ; but that was 
a lie : he got every blessed one of them out of that young flat- 
head that we canoed up to the steamboat. 

Then Mary Jane she fetched the letter her father left be- 
hind, and the king he read it out loud and cried over it. It give 
the dwelling-house and three thousand dollars, gold, to the 
girls; and it give the tanyard (which was doing a good busi- 
ness), along with some other houses and land (worth about 
seven thousand) , and three thousand dollars in gold to Harvey 
and William, and told where the six thousand cash was hid 
down cellar. So these two frauds said they'd go and fetch it 
up, and have everything square and aboveboard; and told me 
to come with a candle. We shut the cellar door behind us, and 
when they found the bag they spilt it out on the floor, and it 
was a lovely sight, all them yaller-boys. My, the way the king's 
eyes did shine! He slaps the duke on the shoulder and says: 

"Oh, this ain't bully nor noth'n! Oh, no, I reckon not! Why, 
Biljy, it beats the Nonesuch, don't it?" 

The duke allowed it did. They pawed the yaller-boys, and 
sifted them through their fingers and let them jingle down on 
the floor; and the king says: 

"It ain't no use talkin'; bein' brothers to a rich dead man and 
representatives of furrin heirs that's got left is the line for you 
and me, Bilge. Thish yer come of trust'n to Providence. It's 
the best way, in the long run. I'v tried 'em all, and ther' ain't 
no better way." 

Most everybody would 'a' been satisfied with the pile, and 
took it on trust ; but no, they must count it. So they counts it, 


and it comes out four hundred and fifteen dollars short. Says 
the king: 

"Dern him, I wonder what he done with that four hundred 
and fifteen dollars?" 

They worried over that awhile, and ransacked all around for 
it. Then the duke says : 

"Well, he was a pretty sick man, and likely he made a mis- 
take I reckon that's the way of it. The best way's to let it go, 
and keep still about it. We can spare it." 

"Oh, shucks, yes, we can spare it. I don't k'yer noth'n 'bout 
that it's the count I'm thinkin' about. We want to be awful 
square and open and aboveboard here, you know. We want to 
lug this h'yer money up-stairs and count it before everybody 
then ther' ain't noth'n suspicious. But when the dead man 

says ther's six thous'n dollars, you know, we don't want 

"Hold on," says the duke. "Le's make up the deffisit," and he 
begun to haul out yaller-boys out of his pocket. 

"It's a most amaz'n' good idea, duke you have got a rattlin' 
clever head on you," says the king. "Blest if the old Nonesuch 
ain't a heppin' us out ag'in," and he begun to haul out yaller- 
jackets and stack them up. 

It most busted them, but they made up the six thousand clean 
and clear. 

"Say," says the duke, "I got another idea. Le's go up- 
stairs and count this money, and then take and give it to the 

"Good land, duke, lemme hug you I It's the most dazzling 
idea 'at ever a man struck. You have cert'nly got the most 
astonishin' head I ever see. Oh, this is the boss dodge, ther' ain't 
no mistake 'bout it. Let 'em fetch along their suspicions now 
if they want to this '11 lay 'em out." 

When we got up-stairs everybody gethered around the table, 
and the king he counted it and stacked it up, three hundred 


dollars in a pile twenty elegant little piles. Everybody looked 
hungry at it, and licked their chops. Then they raked it into 
the bag again, and I see the king begin to swell himself up for 
another speech. He says : 

"Friends all, my poor brother that lays yonder has done gen- 
erous by them that's left behind in the vale of sorrers. He has 
done generous by these yer poor little lambs that he loved and 
sheltered, and that's left fatherless and motherless. Yes, and 
we that knowed him knows that he would 'a' done more gener- 
ous by 'em if he hadn't been afeared o' woundin' his dear Wil- 
liam and me. Now, wouldn't he? Ther' ain't no question 'bout 
it in my mind. Well, then, what kind o' brothers would it be 
that 'd stand in his way at sech a time? And what kind o' uncles 
would it be that 'd rob yes, rob sech poor sweet lambs as 
these 'at he loved so at sech a time? If I know William and 
I think I do he well, I'll jest ask him." He* turns around 
and begins to make a lot of signs to the duke with his hands, 
and the duke he looks at him stupid and leather-headed awhile ; 
then all of a sudden he seems to catch his meaning, and jumps 
for the king, goo-gooing with all his might for joy, and hugs 
him about fifteen times before he lets up. Then the king says, 
"I knowed it; I reckon that '11 convince anybody the way he 
feels about it. Here, Mary Jane, Susan, Joanner, take the 
mone y take it all. It's the gift of him that lays yonder, cold 
but joyful." 

Mary Jane she went for him, Susan and the harelip went 
for the duke, and then such another hugging and kissing 
I never see yet. And everybody crowded up with the tears in 
their eyes, and most shook the hands off of them frauds, saying 
all the time: 

"You dear good souls! how lovely! how could you!" 

Well, then, pretty soon all hands got to talking about the dis- 
eased again, and how good he was, and what a loss he was, and 
all that; and before long a big iron- jawed man worked himself 


in there from outside, and stood a-listening and looking, and 
not saying anything ; and nobody saying anything to him either, 
because the king was talking arid they was all busy listening. 
The king was saying in the middle of something he'd started 
in on 

" they bein' partickler friends o' the diseased. That's why 
they're invited here this evenin' ; but to-morrow we want all to 
come everybody; for he respected everybody, he liked every- 
body, and so it's fitten that his funeral orgies sh'd be public." 

And so he went a-mooiiing on and on, liking to hear himself 
talk, and every little while he fetched in his funeral orgies 
again, till the duke he couldn't stand it no more; so he writes 
on a little scrap of paper, "Obsequies, you old fool," and folds 
it up, and goes to goo-gooing and reaching it over people's 
heads to him. The king he reads it and puts it in his pocket, 
and says: 

"Poor William, afflicted as he is, his heart's aluz right. Asks 
me to invite everybody to come to the funeral wants me to 
make 'em all welcome. But he needn't 'a' worried it was jest 
what I was at." 

Then he weaves along again, perfectly ca'm, and goes to 
dropping in his funeral orgies again every now and then, just 
like he done before. And when he done it the third time he says : 

"I says orgies, not because it's the common term, because it 
ain't obsequies bein' the common term but because orgies is 
the right term. Obsequies ain't used in England no more now 
it's gone out. We say orgies now in England. Orgies is better, 
because it means the thing you're after more exact. It's a word 
that's made up out'n the Greek orgo, outside, open, abroad; 
and the Hebrew jeesum, to plant, cover up; hence inter. So, 
you see, funeral orgies is an open er public funeral." 

He was the worst I ever struck. Well, the iron- jawed man 
he laughed right in his face. Everybody was shocked. Every- 
body says, "Why doctor!" and Abner Shackleford says: 


"Why, Robinson, hain't you heard the news? This is Harvey 

The king he smiled eager, and shoved out his flapper, and 

"Is it my poor brother's dear good friend and physician? 

"Keep your hands off me!" says the doctor. "You talk like 
an Englishman, don't you? It's the worst imitation I ever 
heard. You Peter Wilks's brother! You're a fraud, that's what 
you are!" 

Well, how they all took on! They crowded around the doctor 
and tried to quiet him down, and tried to explain to him and tell 
him how Harvey's showed in forty ways that he was Harvey, 
and knowed everybody by name, and the names of the very 
dogs, and begged and begged him not to hurt Harvey's feelings 
and the poor girls' feelings, and all that. But it warn't no use; 
he stormed right along, and said any man that pretended to be 
an Englishman and couldn't imitate the lingo no better than 
what he did was a fraud and a liar. The poor girls was hanging 
to the king and crying, and all of a sudden the doctor ups and 
turns on them. He says: 

"I was your father's friend, and I'm your friend; and I warn 
you as a friend, and an honest one that wants to protect you 
and keep you out of harm and trouble, to turn your backs on 
that scoundrel and have nothing to do with him, the ignorant 
tramp, with his idiotic Greek and Hebrew, as he calls it. He 
is the thinnest kind of an impostor has come here with a lot of 
empty names and facts which he picked up somewheres; and 
you take them for proofs, and are helped to fool yourselves by 
these foolish friends here, who ought to know better. Mary 
Jane Wilks, you know me for your friend, and for your un- 
selfish friend, too. Now listen to me; turn this pitiful rascal out 
I beg you to do it. Will you?" 


Mary Jane straightened herself up, and my, but she was 
handsome ! She says : 

"Here is my answer." She hove up the bag of money and put 
it in the king's hands, and says, 

"Take this six thousand dollars, and invest for me and my 
sisters any way you want to, and don't give us no receipt for it." 

Then she put her arm around the king on one side, and Susan 
and the hare-lip done the same on the other. Everybody clapped 
their hands and stomped on the floor like a perfect storm, whilst 
the king held up his head and smiled proud. The doctor says : 

"All right; I wash my hands of the matter. But I warn you 
all that a time's coming when you're going to feel sick when- 
ever you think of this day." And away he went. 

"All right, doctor," says the king, kinder mocking him; 
"we'll try and get 'em to send for you"; which made them all 
laugh, and they said it was a prime good hit. 


ELL, when they was all gone the king he asks Mary 
Jane how they was off for spare rooms, and she said she had 
one spare room, which would do for Uncle William, and she'd 
give her own room to Uncle Harvey, which was a little bigger, 
and she would turn into the room with her sisters and sleep 
on a cot; and up garret was a little cubby, with a pallet in it. 
The king said the cubby would do for his valley meaning me. 

So Mary Jane took us up, and she showed them their rooms, 
which was plain but nice. She said she'd have her frocks and a 
lot of other traps took out of her room if they was in Uncle 
Harvey's way, but he said they warn't. The frocks was hung 
along the wall, and before them was a curtain made out of calico 
that hung down to the floor. There was an old hair trunk in 
one corner, and a guitar-box in another, and all sorts of little 
knickknacks and jimcracks around, like girls brisken up a 
room with. The king said it was all the more homely and more 
pleasanter for these fixings, and so don't disturb them. The 
duke's room was pretty small, but plenty good enough, and so 
was my cubby. 

That night they had a big supper, and all them men and 
women was there, and I stood behind the king and the duke's 



chairs and waited on them, and the niggers waited on the rest. 
Mary Jane she set at the head of the table, with Susan along- 
side of her, and said how bad the biscuits was, and how mean 
the preserves was, and how ornery and tough the fried chickens 
was and all that kind of rot, the way women always do for to 
force out compliments; and the people all knowed everything 
was tiptop, and said so said "How do you get biscuits to 
brown so nice?" and " Where, for the land's sake, did you get 
these amaz'n pickles?" and all that kind of humbug talky-talk,. 
just the way people always does at a supper, you know. 

And when it was all done me and the hare-lip had supper in 
the kitchen off of the leavings, whilst the others was helping the 
niggers clean up the things. The hare-lip she got to pumping me 
about England, and blest if I didn't think the ice was getting 
mighty thin sometimes. She says: 

"Did you ever see the king?" 

"Who? William Fourth? Well, I bet I have he goes to our 
church." I knowed he was dead years ago, but I never let on. 
So when I says he goes to our church, she says : 

"What regular?" 

"Yes regular. His pew's right over opposite ourn on 
t'other side the pulpit." 

"I thought he lived in London?" 

"Well he does. Where would he live?" 

"But I thought you lived in Sheffield?" 

I see I was up a stump. I had to let on to get choked with a 
chicken-bone, so as to get time to think how to get down again. 
Then I says: 

"I mean he goes to our church regular when he's in Sheffield. 
That's only in the summer-time, when he comes there to take, 
the sea baths." 

"Why, how you talk Sheffield ain't on the sea." 

"Well, who said it was?" 

"Why, you did." 


"I didn't, nuther." 

"You did!" 

"I didn't." 

"You did." 

"I never said nothing of the kind." 

"Well, what did you say, then?" 

"Said he come to take the sea baths that's what I said." 

"Well, then, how's he going to take the sea baths if it ain't 
on the sea?" 

"Looky here," I says; "do you ever see any Congress- water?" 


"Well, did you have to go to Congress to get it?" 

"Why, no." 

"Well, neither does William Fourth have to go to the sea 
to get a sea bath." 

"How does he get it, then?" 

"Gets it the way people down here gets Congress-water 
in barrels. There in the palace at Sheffield they've got furnaces, 
and he wants his water hot. They can't bile that amount of 
water away off there at the sea. They haven't got no conven- 
iences for it." 

"Oh, I see, now. You might 'a' said that in the first place 
and saved time." 

When she said that I see I was out of the woods again, and 
so I was comfortable and glad. Next, she says : 

"Do you go to church, too?" 

"Yes regular." 

''Where do you set?" 

"Why, in our pew." 

"Whose pew?" 

"Why, ourn your Uncle Harvey's." 

"His'n? What does he want with a pew?" 

"Wants it to set in. What did you reckon he wanted with it?" 

"Why, I thought he'd be in the putyit " 


Rot him, I forgot he was a preacher. I see I was up a stump 
again, so I played another chicken-bone and got another think. 
Then I says : 

"Blame it, do you suppose there ain't but one preacher to a 

"Why, what do they want with more?" 

"What! to preach before a king? I never did see such a girl 
as you. They don't have no less than seventeen." 

"Seventeen! My land! Why, I wouldn't set out such a string 
as that, not if I never got to glory. It must take 'em a week." 

"Shucks, they don't all of 'em preach the same day only 
one of 'em." 

"Well, then, what does the rest of 'em do?" 

"Oh, nothing much. Loll around, pass the plate and one 
thing or another. But mainly they don't do nothing." 

"Well, then, what are they for?" 

"Why, they're for style. Don't you know nothing?" 

"Why, I don't want to know no such foolishness as that. 
How is servants treated in England? Do they treat 'em better 
'n we treat our niggers?" 

"No! A servant ain't nobody there. They treat them worse 
than dogs." 

"Don't they give 'em holidays, the way we do, Christmas and 
New Year's week, and Fourth of July?" 

"Oh, just listen! A body could tell you hain't ever been to 
England by that. Why, Hare-1 why, Joanna, they never see 
a holiday from year's end to year's end ; never go to the circus, 
nor theater, nor nigger shows, nor nowheres." 

"Nor church?" 

"Nor church." 

"But you always went to church." 

Well, I was gone up again. I forgot I was the old man's 
servant. But next minute I whirled in on a kind of an explana- 
tion how a valley was different from a common servant, and 


had to go to church whether he wanted to or not, and set with 
the family, on account of its being the law. But I didn't do it 
pretty good, and when I got done I see she warn't satisfied. 
She says: 

"Honest injun, now, hain't you been telling me a lot of lies?" 

"Honest injun," says I. 

"None of it at all?" 

"None of it at all. Not a lie in it," says I. 

"Lay your hand on this book and say it." 

I see it warn't nothing but a dictionary, so I laid my hand 
on it and said it. So then she looked a little better satisfied, and 

"Well, then, I'll believe some of it; but I hope to gracious 
if I'll believe the rest." 

"What is it you won't believe, Jo?" says Mary Jane, step- 
ping in with Susan behind her. "It ain't right nor kind for you 
to talk so to him, and him a stranger and so far from his people. 
How would you like to be treated so?" 

"That's always your way, Maim always sailing in to help 
somebody before they're hurt. I hain't done nothing to him. 
He's told some stretchers, I reckon, and I said I wouldn't swal- 
low it all ; and that's every bit and grain I did say. I reckon he 
can stand a little thing like that, can't he?" 

"I don't care whether 'twas little or whether 'twas big; he's 
here in our house and a stranger, and it wasn't good of you to 
say it. If you was in his place it would make you feel ashamed; 
and so you oughtn't to say a thing to another person that will 
make them feel ashamed." 

"Why, Maim, he said" 

"It don't make no difference what he said that ain't the 
thing. The thing is for you to treat him kind, and not be saying 
things to make him remember he ain't in his own country and 
amongst his own folks." 


I says to myself, this is a girl that I'm letting that old reptile 
rob her of her money! 

Then Susan she waltzed in; and if you'll believe me, she did 
give Hare-lip hark from the tomb! 

Says I to myself, and this is another one that I'm letting him 
rob her of her money! 

Then Mary Jane she took another inning, and went in sweet 
and lovely again which was her way; but when she got done 
there warn't hardly anything left o' poor Hare-lip. So she 

"All right, then," says the other girls, "y u J us ^ as ^ h* 8 

She done it, too; and she done it beautiful. She done it so 
beautiful it was good to hear; and I wished I could tell her a 
thousand lies, so she could do it again. 

I says to myself, this is another one that I'm letting him rob 
her of her money. And when she got through they all jest laid 
theirselves out to make me feel at home and know I was 
amongst friends. I felt so ornery and low down and mean that 
I says to myself, my mind's made up; I'll hive that money for 
them or bust. 

So then I lit out for bed, I said, meaning some time or an- 
other. When I got by myself, I went to thinking the thing over. 
I says to myself, shall I go to that doctor, private, and blow on 
these frauds? No that won't do. He might tell who told him; 
then the king and the duke would make it warm for me. Shall 
I go private, and tell Mary Jane? No I dasn't do it. Her face 
would give them a hint, sure ; they've got the money, and they'd 
slide right out and get away with it. If she was to fetch in help 
I'd get mixed up in the business before it was done with, I 
judge. No; there ain't no good way but one. I got to steal that 
money, somehow; and I got to steal it some way that they won't 
suspicion that I done it. They've got a good thing here, and 


they ain't a-going to leave till they've played this family and 
this town for all they're worth, so I'll find a chance time enough. 
I'll steal it and hide it; and by and by, when I'm away down 
the river, I'll write a letter and tell Mary Jane where it's hid. 
But I better hive it to-night if I can, because the doctor maybe 
hasn't let up as much as he lets on he has ; he might scare them 
out of here yet. 

So, thinks I, I'll go and search them rooms, Up-stairs the hall 
was dark, but I found the duke's room, and started to paw 
around it with my hands ; but I recollected it wouldn't be much 
like the king to let anybody else take care of that money but his 
own self ; so then I went to his room and begun to paw around 
there. But I see I couldn't do nothing without a candle, and I 
dasn't light one, of course. So I judged I'd got to do the other 
thing lay for them and eavesdrop. About that time I hears 
their footsteps coming, and was going to slqp under the bed; 
I reached for it, but it wasn't where I thought it would be; but 
I touched the curtain that hid Mary Jane's frocks, so I jumped 
in behind that and snuggled in amongst the gowns, and stood 
there perfectly still. 

They come in and shut the door ; and the first thing the duke 
done was to get down and look under the bed. Then I was glad 
I hadn't found the bed when I wanted it. And yet, you know, 
it's kind of natural to hide under the bed when you are up to 
anything private. They sets down then, and the king says : 

"Well, what is it? And cut it middlin' short, because it's better 
for us to be down there a-whoopin' up the mournin' than up 
here givin' 'em a chance to talk us over." 

"Well, this is it, Capet. I ain't easy; I ain't comfortable. 
That doctor lays on my mind. I wanted to know your plans. 
I've got a notion, and I think it's a sound one." 

"What is it, duke?" 

"That we better glide out of this before three in the morn- 
ing, and clip it down the river with what we've got. Specially, 


seeing we got it so easy given back to us, flung at our heads, 
as you may say, when of course we allowed to have to steal it 
back. I'm for knocking off and lighting out." 

That made me feel pretty bad. About an hour or two ago it 
would 'a' been a little different, but now it made me feel bad 
and disappointed. The king rips out and says : 

"What! And not sell out the rest o' the property? March off 
like a passel of fools and leave eight or nine thous'n' dollars' 
worth o' property layin' around jest sufferin' to be scooped in? 
and all good, salable stuff, too." 

The duke he grumbled ; said the bag of gold was enough, and 
he didn't want to go no deeper didn't want to rob a lot of or- 
phans of everything they had. 

"Why, how you talk!" says the king. "We shan't rob 'em of 
nothing at all but jest this money. The people that buys the 
property is the suff 'rers ; because as soon 's it's found out 'at we 
didn't own it which won't be long after we've slid the sale 
won't be valid, arid it '11 all go back to the estate. These yer 
orphans '11 git their house back ag'in, and that's enough for 
them; they're young and spry, and k'n easy earn a livin'. They 
ain't a-goin' to suffer. Why, jest think there's thous'n's and 
thous'n's that ain't nigh so well off. Bless you, they ain't got 
noth'n' to complain of." 

Well, the king he talked him blind; so at last he give in, and 
said all right, but said he believed it was blamed foolishness to 
stay, and that doctor hanging over them. But the king says: 

"Cuss the doctor! What do we k'yer for him? Hain't we got 
all the fools in town on our side? And ain't that a big enough 
majority in any town?" 

So they got ready to go down-stairs again. The duke says: 

"I don't think we put that money in a good place." 

That cheered me up. I'd begun to think I warn't going to get 
a hint of no kind to help me. The king says : 



"Because Mary Jane '11 be in mourning from this out; and 
first you know the nigger that does up the rooms will get an 
order to box these duds up and put 'em away; and do you 
reckon a nigger can run across money and not borrow some 
of it?" 

"You head's level ag'in, duke," says the king; and he comes 
a-fumbling under the curtain two or three foot from where I 
was. I stuck tight to the wall and kept mighty still, though 
quivery; and I wondered what them fellows would say to me 
if they catched me; and I tried to think what I'd better do if 
they did catch me. But the king he got the bag before I could 
think more than about a half a thought, and he never sus- 
picioned I was around. They took and shoved the bag through 
a rip in the straw tick that was under the feather-bed, and 
crammed it in a foot or two amongst the straw and said it was 
all right now, because a nigger only makes up the feather-bed, 
and don't turn over the straw tick only about twice a year, and 
so it warn't in no danger of getting stole now. 

But I knowed better. I had it out of there before they was 
half-way down-stairs. I groped along up to my cubby, and hid 
it there till I could get a chance to do better. I judged I better 
hide it outside of the house somewheres, because if they missed 
it they would give the house a good ransacking : I knowed that 
very well. Then I turned in, with my clothes all on; but I 
couldn't 'a' gone to sleep if I'd 'a' wanted to, I was in such a 
sweat to get through with the business. By and by I heard the 
king and the duke come up ; so I rolled off my pallet and laid 
with my chin at the top of my ladder, and waited to see if any- 
thing was going to happen. But nothing did. 

So I held on till all the late sounds had quit and the early 
ones hadn't begun yet; and then I slipped down the ladder. 



CREPT to their doors and listened; they was snoring. So 
I tiptoed along, and got down-stairs all right. There warn't 
a sound anywheres. J peeped through a crack of the dining- 
room door, and see the men that was watching the corpse all 
sound asleep on their chairs. The door was open into the parlor, 
where the corpse was laying, and there was a candle in both 
rooms. I passed along, and the parlor door was open; but I see 
there warn't nobody in there but the remainders of Peter ; so I 
shoved on by; but the front door was locked, and the key wasn't 
there. Just then I heard somebody coming down the stairs, back 
behind me. I run in the parlor and took a swift look around, 
and the only place I see to hide the bag was in the coffin. The 
lid was shoved along about a foot, showing the dead man's face 
down in there, with a wet cloth over it, and his shroud on. I 
tucked the money-bag in under the lid, just down beyond where 



his hands tvas crossed, which made me creep, they was so cold, 
and then I run back across the room and in behind the door. 

The person coming was Mary Jane. She went to the coffin, 
very soft, and kneeled down and looked in ; then she put up her 
handkerchief, and I see she begun to cry, though I couldn't 
hear her, and her back was to me. I slid out, and as I passed 
the dining-room I thought I'd make sure them watchers hadn't 
seen me ; so I looked through the crack, and everything was all 
right. They hadn't stirred. 

I slipped up to bed, feeling ruther blue, on accounts of the 
thing playing out that way after I had took so much trouble 
and run so much resk about it. Says I, if it could stay where it 
is, all right ; because when we get down the river a hundred mile 
or two I could write back to Mary Jane, and she could dig him 
up again and get it ; but that ain't the thing that's going to hap- 
pen; the thing that's going to happen is, the money '11 be found 
when they come to screw on the lid. Then the king '11 get it again, 
and it '11 be a long day before he gives anybody another chance 
to smouch it from him. Of course I wanted to slide down and 
get it out of there, but I dasn't try it. Every minute it was get- 
ting earlier now, and pretty soon some of them watchers would 
begin to stir, and I might get catched catched with six thou- 
sand dollars in my hands that nobody hadn't hired me to take 
care of. I don't wish to be mixed up in no such business as that, 
I says to myself. 

When I got down-stairs in the morning the parlor was shut 
up, and the watchers was gone. There warn't nobody around 
but the family and the widow Bartley and our tribe. I watched 
their faces to see if anything had been happening, but I couldn't 

Towards the middle of the day the undertaker come with his 
man, and they set the coffin in the middle of the room on a 
couple of chairs, and then set all our chairs in rows, and bor- 
rowed more from the neighbors till the hall and the parlor and 


the dining-room was full. I see the coffin lid was the way it was 
before, but I dasn't go to look in under it, with folks around. 

Then the people begun to flock in, and the beats and the 
girls took seats in the front row at the head of the coffin, and 
for a half an hour the people filed around slow, in single rank, 
and looked down at the dead man's face a minute, and some 
dropped in a tear, and it was all very still and solemn, only the 
girls and the beats holding handkerchiefs to their eyes and 
keeping their heads bent, and sobbing a little. There warn't no 
other sound but the scraping of the feet on the floor and blow- 
ing noses because people always blows them more at a funeral 
than they do at other places except church. 

When the place was packed full the undertaker he slid 
around in his black gloves with his softy soothering ways, put- 
ting on the last touches, and getting people and things all ship- 
shape and comfortable, and making no more sound than a cat. 
He never spoke ; he moved people around, he squeezed in late 
ones, he opened up passageways, and done it with nods, and 
signs with his hands. Then he took his place over against the 
wall. He was the softest, glidingest, stealthiest man I ever see ; 
and there warn't no more smile to him than there is to a ham. 

They had borrowed a melodeum a sick one; and when 
everything was ready a young woman set down and worked it ; 
and it was pretty skreeky and colicky, and everybody joined 
in and sung, and Peter was the only one that had a good thing, 
according to my notion. Then the Reverend Hobson opened 
up, slow and solemn, and begun to talk; and straight off the 
most outrageous row busted out in the cellar a body ever heard ; 
it was only one dog, but he made a most powerful racket, and 
he kept it up right along; the parson he had to stand there, 
over the coffin, and wait you couldn't hear yourself think. It 
was right down awkward, and nobody didn't seem to know 
what to do. But pretty soon they see that long-legged under- 
taker make a sign to the preacher as much as to say, "Don't you 


worry just depend on me." Then he stooped down and begun 
to glide along the wall just his shoulders showing over the peo- 
ple's heads. So he glided along, and the powwow and racket 
getting more and more outrageous all the time; and at last, 
when he had gone around two sides of the room, he disappears 
down cellar. Then in about two seconds we heard a whack, and 
the dog he finished up with a most amazing howl or two, and 
then everything was dead still, and the parson begun his solemn 
talk where he left off. In a minute or two here comes this under- 
taker's back and shoulders gliding along the wall again ; and so 
he glided and glided around three sides of the room, and then 
rose up, and shaded his mouth with his hands, and stretched 
his neck out towards the preacher, over the people's heads, and 
says, in a kind of a coarse whisper, "He had a rat!" Then he 
drooped down and glided along the wall again to his place. You 
could see it was a great satisfaction to the people, because nat- 
urally they wanted to know. A little thing like that don't cost 
nothing, and it's just the little things that makes a man to be 
looked up to and liked. There warn't no more popular man 
in town than what that undertaker was. 

Well, the funeral sermon was very good, but pison long and 
tiresome ; and then the king he shovfid in and got off some of his 
usual rubbage, and at last the job was through, and the under- 
taker begun to sneak up on the coffin with his screw-driver. I 
was in a sweat then, and watched him pretty keen. But he never 
meddled at all; just slid the lid along as soft as mush, and 
screwed it down tight and fast. So there I was! I didn't know 
whether the money was in there or not. So, says I, s'pose some- 
body has hogged that bag on the sly? now how do I know 
whether to write to Mary Jane or not? S'pose she dug him up 
arid didn't find nothing, what would she think of me? Blame it, 
I says, I might get hunted up and jailed; I'd better lay low 
and keep dark, and not write at all; the thing's awful mixed 
now; trying to better it, I've worsened it a hundred times, and 


I wish to goodness I'd just let it alone, dad fetch the whole 
business ! 

They buried him, and we come back home, and I went to 
watching faces again I couldn't help it, arid I couldn't rest 
easy. But nothing come of it; the faces didn't tell me nothing. 

The king he visited around in the evening and sweetened 
everybody up, and made himself ever so friendly ; and he give 
out the idea that his congregation over in England would be in 
a sweat about him, so he must hurry and settle up the estate 
right away and leave for home. He was very sorry he was so 
pushed, and so was everybody; they wished he could stay 
longer, but they said they could see it couldn't be done. And 
he said of course him and William would take the girls home 
with them; and that pleased everybody too, because then the 
girls would be well fixed and amongst their own relations ; and 
it pleased the girls, too tickled them so they clean forgot they 
ever had a trouble in the world ; and told him to sell out as quick 
as he wanted to, they would be ready. Them poor things was 
that glad and happy it made my heart ache to see them getting 
fooled and lied to so, but I didn't see no safe way for me to chip 
in and change the general tune. 

Well, blamed if the king didn't bill the house and the niggers 
and all the property for auction straight off sale two days 
after the funeral; but anybody could buy private beforehand 
if they wanted to. 

So the next day after the funeral, along about noon-time, 
the girls' joy got the first jolt. A couple of nigger-traders come 
along, and the king sold them the niggers reasonable, for three- 
day drafts as they called it, and away they went, the two sons 
up the river to Memphis, and their mother down the river to 
Orleans. I thought them poor girls and them niggers would 
break their hearts for grief; they cried among each other, and 
took on so it most made me down sick to see it. The girls said 
they hadn't ever dreamed of seeing the family separated or sold 


away from the town. I can't ever get it out of my memory, the 
sight of them poor miserable girls and niggers hanging around 
each other's necks and crying ; and I reckon I couldn't 'a' stood 
it all, but would 'a' had to bust out and tell on our gang if I 
hadn't knowed the sale warn't no account and the niggers would 
be back home in a week or two. 

The thing made a big stir in the town, too, and a good many 
come out flatfooted and said it was scandalous to separate the 
mother and the children that way. It injured the frauds some; 
but the old fool he bulled right along, spite of all the duke 
could say or do, and I tell you the duke was powerful uneasy. 

Next day was auction day. About broad day in the morning 
the king and the duke come up in the garret and woke me up, 
and I see by their look that there was trouble. The king says : 

"Was you in my room night before last?" 

"No, your majesty" which was the way *I always called 
him when nobody but our gang warn't around. 

"Was you in there yesterday er last night?" 

"No, your majesty." 

"Honor bright, now no lies." 

"Honor bright your majesty, I'm telling you the truth. I 
hain't been a-near your room since Miss Mary Jane took you 
and the duke and showed it to you." 

The duke says: 

"Have you seen anybody else go in there?" 

"No, your grace, not as I remember, I believe." 

"Stop and think." 

I studied awhile and see my chance ; then I says : 

"Well, I see the niggers go in there several times." 

Both of them gave a little jump, and looked like they hadn't 
ever expected it, and then like they had. Then the duke says: 

"What, all of them?" 

"No leastways, not all at once that is, I don't think I ever 
see them all come out at once but just one time." 


"Hello! When was that?" 

"It was the day we had the funeral. In the morning. It warn't 
early, because I overslept. I was just starting down the ladder, 
and I see them." 

"Well, go on, go on! What did they do? How'd they 

"They didn't do nothing. And they didn't act anyway much, 
as fur as I see. They tiptoed away ; so I seen, easy enough, that 
they'd shoved in there to do up your majesty's room, or some- 
thing, s'posing you was up ; and found you warn't up, and so 
they was hoping to slide out of the way of trouble without wak- 
ing you up, if they hadn't already waked you up." 

"Great guns, this is a go!" says the king; and both of them 
looked pretty sick and tolerable silly. They stood there a-think- 
ing and scratching their heads a minute, and the duke he bust 
into a kind of a little raspy chuckle, and says : 

"It does beat all how neat the niggers played their hand. 
They let on to be sorry they was going out of this region. And 
I believed they was sorry, and so did you, and so did everybody. 
Don't ever tell me any more that a nigger ain't got any histri- 
onic talent. Why, the way they played that thing it would fool 
anybody. In my opinion, there's a fortune in 'em. If I had 
capital and a theater, I wouldn't want a better lay-out than 
that and here we've gone and sold 'em for a song. Yes, and 
ain't privileged to sing the song yet. Say, where is that song 
that draft?" 

"In the bank for to be collected. Where would it be?" 

"Well, that's all right then, thank goodness." 

Says I, kind of timid-like: 

"Is something gone wrong?" 

The king whirls on me and rips out: 

"None o' your business! You keep your head shet, and mind 
y'r own affairs if you got any. Long as you're in this town 
don't von forcn't that von hear?" Then he savs to thp 


"We got to jest swaller it and say noth'n': mum's the word 
for its/* 

As they was starting down the ladder the duke he chuckles 
again, and says: 

"Quick sales and small profits! It's a good business yes." 

The king snarls around on him and says : 

"I was trying to do for the best in sellin' 'em out so quick. 
If the profits has turned out to be none, lackin' considable, 
and none to carry, is it my fault any more'n it's yourn?" 

"Well, they'd be in this house yet and we wouldn't if I could 
'a' got my advice listened to." 

The king sassed back as much as was safe for him, and then 
swapped around and lit into me again. He give me down the 
banks for not coming and telling him I see the niggers come 
out of his room acting that way said any fool would V 
knowed something was up. And then waltzed in and cussed 
himself awhile, and said it all come of him not laying late and 
taking his natural rest that morning, and he'd be blamed if he'd 
ever do it again. So they went off a- jawing; and I felt dreadful 
glad I worked it all off onto the niggers, and yet hadn't done 
the niggers no harm by it. 




> Y AND BY it was getting-up time. So I come down the 
ladder and started for down-stairs ; but as I come to the girls' 
room the door was open, and I see Mary Jane setting by her 
old hair trunk, which was open and she'd been packing things 
in it getting ready to go to England. But she had stopped 
now with a folded gown in her lap, and had her face in her 
hands, crying. I felt awful bad to see it; of course anybody 
would. I went in there and says: 

"Miss Mary Jane, you can't a-bear to see people in trouble, 
and 7 can't most always. Tell me about it." 

So she done it. And it was the niggers I just expected it. 
She said the beautiful trip to England was most about spoiled 
for her; she didn't know how she was ever going to be happy 
there, knowing the mother and the children warn't ever going 
to see each other no more and then busted out bitterer than 
ever, and flung up her hands, and says : 

"Oh, dear, dear, to think they ain't ever going to see each 
other any more!" 

"But they will and inside of two weeks and I know it!" 
says I. 



Laws, it was out before I could think! And before I could 
budge she throws her arms around my neck and told me to say 
it again, say it again, say it again! 

I see I had spoke too sudden and said too much, and was in 
a close place. I asked her to let me think a minute ; and she set 
there, veiy impatient and excited and handsome, but looking 
kind of happy and eased-up, like a person that's had a tooth 
pulled out. So I went to studying it out. I says to myself, I 
reckon a body that ups and tells the truth when he is in a tight 
place is taking considerable many resks, though I ain't had no 
experience, and can't say for certain ; but it looks so to me, any- 
way ; and yet here's a case where I'm blest if it don't look to me 
like the truth is better and actuly safer than a lie. I must lay it 
by in my mind, and think it over some time or other, it's so kind 
of strange and unregular. I never see nothing like it. Well, I 
says to myself at last I'm a-going to chance k; I'll up and tell 
the truth this time, though it does seem most like setting down 
on a kag of powder and touching it off just to see where you'll 
go to. Then I says: 

"Miss Mary Jane, is there any place out of town a little ways 
where you could go and stay three or four days?" 

"Yes; Mr. Lothrop's. Why?" 

"Never mind why yet. If I'll tell you how I know the niggers 
will see each other again inside of two weeks here in this 
house and prove how I know it will you go to Mr. Lothrop's 
and stay four days?" 

"Four days!" she says; "I'll stay a yearl" 

"All right," I says, "I don't want nothing more out of you 
than just your word I druther have it than another man's 
kiss-the-Bible." She smiled and reddened up very sweet, and I 
says, "If you don't mind it, I'll shut the door and bolt it." 

Then I come back and set down again, and says : 

"Don't you holler. Just set still and take it like a man. I got 
to tell the truth, and you want to brace up, Miss Mary, because 


it's a bad kind, and going to be hard to take, but there ain't no 
help for it. These uncles of yourn ain't no uncles at all; they're 
a couple of frauds regular dead-beats. There, now we're over 
the worst of it, you can stand the rest middling easy." 

It jolted her up like anything, of course; but I was over the 
shoal water now, so I went right along, her eyes a-blazing 
higher and higher all the time, and told her every blame thing, 
from where we first struck that young fool going up to the 
steamboat, clear through to where she flung herself onto the 
king's breast at the front door and he kissed her sixteen or sev- 
enteen times and then up she jumps, with her face afire like 
sunset, and says : 

"The brute! Come, don't waste a minute not a second 
we'll have them tarred and feathered, and flung in the river!" 

Says I: 

"Cert'nly. But do you mean before you go to Mr. Lothrop's, 

"Oh," she says, "what am I thinking about!" she says, and 
set right down again. "Don't mind what I said please don't 
you won't , now, will you?" Laying her silky hand on mine in 
that kind of a way that I said I would die first. "I never 
thought, I was so stirred up," she says; "now go on, and I won't 
do so any more. You tell me what to do, and whatever you say 
I'll do it." 

"Well," I says, "it's a rough gang, them two frauds, and I'm 
fixed so I got to travel with them a while longer, whether I 
want to or not I druther not tell you why; and if you was to 
blow on them this town would get me out of their claws, and 
J'd be all right; but there'd be another person that you don't 
know about who'd be in big trouble. Well, we got to save him, 
hain't we? Of course. Well then we won't blow on them." 

Saying them words put a good idea in my head. I see how 
maybe I could get me and Jim rid of the frauds; get them 
jailed here, and then leave. But I didn't want to run the raft 


in the daytime without anybody aboard to answer questions 
but me ; so I didn't want the plan to begin working till pretty 
late to-night. I says: 

"Miss Mary Jane, I'll tell you what we'll do, and you won't 
have to stay at Mr. Lothrop's so long, nuther. How fur is 

"A little short of four miles right out in the country, back 

"Well, that '11 answer. Now you go along out there, and lay 
low till nine or half past to-night, and then get them to fetch 
you home again tell them you've thought of something. If 
you get here before eleven put a candle in this window, and if 
I don't turn up wait till eleven, and then if I don't turn up it 
means I'm gone, and out of the way, and safe. Then you come 
out and spread the news around, and get these beats jailed." 

"Good," she says, "I'll do it." 

"And if it just happens so that I don't get away, but get 
took up along with them, you must up and say I told you the 
whole thing before hand, and you must stand by me all you 

"Stand by you! indeed I will. They sha'n't touch a hair of 
your head!" she says, and I see her nostrils spread and her eyes 
snap when she said it, too. 

"If I get away I sha'n't be here," I says, "to prove these 
rapscallions ain't your uncles, and I couldn't do it if I was 
here. I could swear they was beats and bummers, that's all, 
though that's worth something. Well, there's others can do that 
better than what I can, and they're people that ain't going to 
be doubted as quick as I'd be. I'll tell you how to find them. 
Gimme a pencil and a piece of paper. There 'Royal None- 
such, BrickvillcS Put it away, and don't lose it. When the 
court wants to find out something about these two, let them 
send up to Brickville and say they've got the men that played 
the 'Royal Nonesuch,' and ask for some witnesses why, you'll 


have that entire town down here before you can hardly wink, 
Miss Mary. And they'll come a-biling, too." 

I judged we had got everything fixed about right now. So 
I says: 

"Just let the auction go right along, and don't worry. No- 
body don't have to pay for the things they buy till a whole day 
after the auction on accounts of the short notice, and they ain't 
going out of this till they get that money; and the way we've 
fixed it the sale ain't going to count, and they ain't going to 
get no money. It's just like the way it was with the niggers 
it warn't no sale, and the niggers will be back before long. Why, 
they can't collect the money for the niggers yet they're in the 
worst kind of a fix, Miss Mary." 

"Well," she says, "I'll run down to breakfast now, and then 
I'll start straight for Mr. Lothrop's." 

" 'Deed, that ain't the ticket, Miss Mary Jane," I says, "by 
no manner of means; go before breakfast." 


"What did you reckon I wanted you to go at all for, Miss 

"Well, I never thought and come to think, I don't know. 
What was it?" 

"Why, it's because you ain't one of these leatherface people. 
I don't want no better book than what your face is. A body can 
set down and read it off like coarse print. Do you reckon you 
can go and face your uncles when they come to kiss you good- 
morning, and never " 

"There, there, don't! Yes, I'll go before breakfast I'll be 
glad to. And leave my sisters with them?" 

"Yes; never mind about them. They've got to stand it yet 
awhile. They might suspicion something if all of you was to 
go. I don't want you to see them, nor your sisters, nor nobody 
in this town; if a neighbor was to ask how is your uncles this 
morning your face would tell something. No, you go right 


along, Miss Mary Jane, and I'll fix it with all of them. I'll tell 
Miss Susan to give your love to your uncles and say you've 
went away for a few hours for to get a little rest and change, 
or to see a friend, and you'll be back to-night or early in the 

"Gone to see a friend is all right, but I won't have my love 
given to them/' 

"Well, then, it shan't be." It was well enough to tell her 
so no harm in it. It was only a little thing to do, and no 
trouble; and it's the little things that smooths people's roads 
the most, down here below ; it would make Mary Jane comfort- 
able, and it wouldn't cost nothing. Then I says: "There's one 
more thing the bag of money." 

"Well, they've got that; and it makes me feel pretty silly 
to think how they got it." 

"No, you're out, there. They hain't got it." 

"Why, who's got it?" 

"I wish I knowed, but I don't. I had it, because I stole it 
from them; and I stole it to give to you; and I know where I 
hid it, but 'm afraid it ain't there no more. I'm awful soriy, 
Miss Mary Jane, I'm just as sorry as I can be; but I done the 
best I could; I did honest. I come nigh getting caught, and I 
had to shove it into the first place come to, and run and it 
warn't a good place." 

"Oh, stop blaming yourself it's too bad to do it, and I won't 
allow it you couldn't help it ; it wasn't your fault. Where did 
you hide it?" 

I didn't want to set her to thinking about her troubles again ; 
and I couldn't seem to get my mouth to tell her what would 
make her see that corpse laying in the coffin with that bag of 
money on his stomach. So for a minute I didn't say nothing; 
then I says: 

"I'd ruther not tell you where I put it, Miss Mary Jane, if 
you don't mind letting me off; but I'll write it for you on a 


piece of paper, and you can read it along the road to Mr. 
Lothrop's, if you want to. Do you reckon that'll do?" 

"Oh, yes." 

So I wrote: "I put it in the coffin. It was in there when you 
was crying there, way in the night. I was behind the door, and 
I was mighty sorry for you, Miss Mary Jane." 

It made my eyes water a little to remember her crying there 
all by herself in the night, and them devils laying there right 
under her own roof, shaming her and robbing her; and when 
I folded it up and give it to her I see the water come into her 
eyes, too ; and she shook me by the hand, hard, and says : 

ff Good-l)y. I'm going to do everything just as you've told 
me; and if I don't ever see you again, I sha'n't ever forget 
you, and I'll think of you a many and a many time, and I'll 
pray for you, too!" and she was gone. 

Pray for me! I reckoned if she knowed me she'd take a job 
that was more nearer her size. But I bet she done it, just the' 
same she was just that kind. She had the grit to pray for 
Judus if she took the notion there warn't no back-down to 
her, I judge. You may say what you want to, but in my opinion 
she had more sand in her than any girl I ever see ; in my opin- 
ion she was just full of sand. It sounds like flattery, but it ain't 
no flattery. And when it comes to beauty and goodness, too 
she lays over them all. I hain't ever seen her since that time 
that I see her go out of that door; no, I hain't ever seen her 
since, but I reckon I've thought of her a many and a many a 
million times, and of her saying she would pray for me; and 
if ever I'd 'a' thought it would do any good for me to pray for 
her, blamed if I wouldn't 'a' done it or bust. 

Well, Mary Jane she lit out the back way, I reckon; because 
nobody see her go. When I struck Susan and the hare-lip, I 

"What's the name of them people over on t'other side of the 
river that you all goes to see sometimes?" 


They says : 

"There's several; but it's the Proctors, mainly." 

"That's the name," I says; "I most forgot it. Well, Miss 
Mary Jane she told me to tell you she's gone over there in a 
dreadful hurry one of them's sick." 

"Which one?" 

"I don't know; leastways, I kinder forgot; but I think 

"Sakes alive, I hope it ain't Hanner?" 

"I'm sorry to say it," I says, "but Hanner's the very one." 

"My goodness, and she so well only last week? Is she took 

"It ain't no name for it. They set up with her all night, Miss 
Mary Jane said, and they don't think she'll last many hours." 

"Only think of that, now! What's the matter with her?" 

I couldn't think of anything reasonable, right off that way, 
so I says: 


"Mumps your granny! They don't set up with people that's 
got the mumps." 

"They don't, don't they? You better bet they do with these 
mumps. These mumps is different. It's a new kind, Miss Mary 
Jane said." 

"How's it a new kind?" 

"Because it's mixed up with other things." 

"What other things?" 

"Well, measles, and whopping-cough, and erysiplas, and con- 
sumption, and yaller janders, and brain-fever, and I don't know 
what all." 

"My land! And they call it the mumps?" 

"That's what Miss Mary Jane said." 

"Well, what in the nation do they call it the mumps for?" 

"Why, because it is the mumps. That's what it starts with." 

"Well, ther' ain't no sense in it. A body might stump his toe, 


and take pison, and fall down the well, and break his neck, and 
bust his brains out, and somebody come along and ask what 
killed him, and some numskull up and say, 'Why, he stumbled 
his toe/ Would ther' be any sense in that? No. And ther' ain't 
no sense in this,, nuther. Is it ketching?" 

"Is it ketching? Why, how you talk. Is a harrow catching 
in the dark? If you don't hitch on to one tooth, you're bound 
to on another, ain't you ? And you can't get away with that tooth 
without fetching the whole harrow along, can you? Well, these 
kind of mumps is a kind of a harrow, as you may say and it 
ain't no slouch of a harrow, nuther, you come to get it hitched 
on good." 

"Well, it's awful, / think," says the hare-lip. "I'll go to 
Uncle Harvey and " 

"Oh, yes," I says, "I would. Of course I would. I wouldn't 
lose no time." 

"Well, why wouldn't you?" 

"Just look at it a minute, and maybe you can see. Hain't 
your uncles obleeged to get along home to England as fast as 
they can? And do you reckon they'd be mean enough to go off 
and leave you to go all that journey by yourselves? You know 
they'll wait for you. So fur, so good. Your uncle Harvey's a 
preacher, ain't he? Very well, then; is a preacher going to de- 
ceive a steamboat clerk? is he going to deceive a ship clerk? 
so as to get them to let Miss Mary Jane go aboard? Now you 
know he ain't. What will he do, then? Why, he'll say, 'It's a 
great pity, but my church matters has got to get along the best 
way they can; for my niece has been exposed to the dreadful 
pluribus-unum mumps, and so it's my bounden duty to set 
down here and wait the three months it takes to show on her 
if she's got it.' But never mind, if you think it's best to tell your 
uncle Harvey " 

"Shucks, and stay fooling around here when we could all be 
having good times in England whilst we was waiting to find 


out whether Mary Jane's got it or not? Why, you talk like a 

"Well, anyway, maybe you'd better tell some of the neigh- 

"Listen at that, now. You do beat all for natural stupidness. 
Can't you see that they'd go and tell? Ther' ain't no way but 
just to not tell anybody at all." 

"Well, maybe you're right yes, I judge you are right." 

"But I reckon we ought to tell Uncle Harvey she's gone out 
awhile, anyway, so he won't be uneasy about her?" 

"Yes, Miss Mary Jane she wanted you to do that. She says, 
'Tell them to give Uncle Harvey and William my love and a 
kiss, and say I've run over the river to see Mr.' Mr. what is 
the name of that rich family your uncle Peter used to think so 
much of? I mean the one that " 

"Why, you must mean the Ap thorps, ain't it?" 

"Of course; bother them kind of names, a body can't ever 
seem to remember them, half the time, somehow. Yes, she said, 
say she has run over for to ask the Apthorps to be sure and 
come to the auction and buy this house, because she allowed her 
uncle Peter would ruther they had it than anybody else; and 
she's going to stick to them till they say they'll come, and then, 
if she ain't too tired, she's coming home; and if she is, she'll be 
home in the morning anyway. She said, don't say nothing about 
the Proctors, but only about the Apthorps which'll be per- 
fectly true, because she is going there to speak about their buy- 
ing the house; I know it, because she told me so herself." 

"All right," they said, and cleared out to lay for their uncles, 
and give them the love and the kisses, and tell them the mes- 

Everything was all right now. The girls wouldn't say noth- 
ing because they wanted to go to England ; and the king and 
the duke would ruther Mary Jane was off working for the 
auction than around in reach of Doctor Robinson. I felt very 


good; I judged I had done it pretty neat I reckoned Tom 
Sawyer couldn't 'a' done it no neater himself. Of course he 
would 'a' throwed more style into it, but I can't do that very 
handy, not being* brung up to it. 

Well, they held the auction in the public square along to- 
wards the end of the afternoon, and it strung along, and strung 
along, and the old man he was on hand and looking his level 
pisonest, up there longside of the auctioneer, and chipping in 
a little Scripture now and then, or a little goody-goody saying 
of some kind, and the duke he was around goo-gooing for sym- 
pathy all he knowed how, and just spreading himself generly. 

But by and by the thing dragged through, and everything 
was sold everything but a little old trifling lot in the grave- 
yard. So they'd got to work that off I never see such a girafft 
as the king was for wanting to swallow everything. \Vell, whilst 
they was at it a steamboat landed, and in about two minutes up 
comes a crowd a- whooping and yelling and laughing and carry- 
ing on, and singing out : 

"Here's your opposition line! here's your two sets o' heirs to 
old Peter Wilks and you pays your money and you takes your 
choice 1" 


.HEY was fetching a very nice-looking old gentleman along, 
and a nice-looking younger one, with his right arm in a sling. 
And, my souls, how the people yelled and laughed, and kept it 
up. But I didn't see no joke about it, and I judged it would 
strain the duke and the king some to see any. I reckoned they'd 
turn pale. But no, nary a pale did they turn. The duke he never 
let on he suspicioned what was up, but just went a goo-gooing 
around, happy and satisfied, like a jug that's googling out but- 
termilk; and as for the king, he just gazed and gazed down 
sorrowful on them new-comers like it give him the stomach- 
ache in his very heart to think there could be such frauds and 
rascals in the world. Oh, he done it admirable. Lots of the prin- 
cipal people gethered around the king, to let him see they was 
on his side. That old gentleman that had just come looked all 
puzzled to death. Pretty soon he begun to speak, and I see 
straight off he pronounced like an Englishman not the king's 
way, though the king's was pretty good for an imitation. I can't 
give the old gent's words, nor I can't imitate him ; but he turned 
around to the crowd, and says, about like this: 

"This is a surprise to me which I wasn't looking for; and I'll 



acknowledge, candid and frank, I ain't very well fixed to meet 
it and answer it ; for my brother and me has had misfortunes ; 
he's broke his arm and our baggage got put off at a town above 
here last night in the night by a mistake. I am Peter Wilks's 
brother Harvey, and this is his brother William, which can't 
hear nor speak and can't even make signs to amount to much, 
now't he's only got one hand to work them with. We are who 
we say we are ; and in a day or two, when I get the baggage, I 
can prove it. But up till then I won't say nothing more, but go 
to the hotel and wait." 

So him arid the new dummy started off; and the king he 
laughs, and blethers out : 

"Broke his arm very likely, ain't it? and very convenient, 
too, for a fraud that's got to make signs, and ain't learnt how. 
Lost their baggage! That's mighty good! and mighty in- 
genious under the circumstances!" 

So he laughed again; and so did everybody else, except three 
or four, or maybe half a dozen. One of these was that doctor ; 
another one was a sharp-looking gentleman, with a carpet-bag 
of the old-fashioned kind made out of carpet-stuff, that had just 
come off of the steamboat and was talking to him in a low voice, 
and glancing towards the king now and then and nodding their 
heads it was Levi Bell, the lawyer that was gone up to Louis- 
ville; and another one was a big rough husky that come along 
and listened to all the old gentleman said, and was listening to 
the king now. And when the king got done this husky up and 

"Say, looky here; if you are Harvey Wilks, when'd you come 
to this town?" 

"The day before the funeral, friend," says the king. 

"But what time o' day?" 

"In the evenin' 'bout an hour er two before sun-down." 

"How'd you come?" 

"I come down on the S.usan Powell from Cincinnati." 


"Well, then, how'd you come to be up at the Pint in the 
mornirf in a canoe?" 

"I warn't up at the Pint in the mornin'." 

"It's a lie." 

Several of them jumped for him and begged him not to talk 
that way to an old man and a preacher. 

"Preacher be hanged, he's a fraud and a liar. He was up at 
the Pint that mornin'. I live up there, don't I ? Well, I was up 
there, and he was up there. I see him there. He comes in a 
canoe, along with Tim Collins and a boy." 

The doctor he up and says : 

"Would you know the boy again if you was to see him, 

"I reckon I would, but I don't know. Why, yonder he is, 
now. I know him perfectly easy." 

It was me he pointed at. The doctor says : * 

"Neighbors, I don't know whether the new couple is frauds 
or not; but if these two ain't frauds, I am an idiot, that's all. I 
think it's our duty to see that they don't get away from here 
till we've looked into this thing. Come along, Hines; come 
along, the rest of you. We'll take these fellows to the tavern 
and affront them with t'other couple, and I reckon we'll find 
out something before we get through." 

It was nuts for the crowd, though maybe not for the king's 
friends; so we all started. It was about sun-down. The doctor 
he led me along by the hand, and was plenty kind enough, but 
he never let go my hand. 

We all got in a big room in the hotel, and lit up some candles, 
and fetched in the new couple. First, the doctor says : 

"I don't wish to be too hard on these two men, but / think 
they're frauds, and they may have complices that we don't know 
nothing about. If they have, won't the complices get away with 
that bag of gold Peter Wilks left? It ain't unlikely. If these 
men ain't frauds, they won't object to sending for that money 


and letting us keep it till they prove they're all right ain't 
that so?" 

Everybody agreed to that. So I judged they had our gang 
in a pretty tight place right at the outstart. But the king he 
only looked sorrowful, and says : 

"Gentlemen, I wish the money was there, for I ain't got no 
disposition to throw anything in the way of a fair, open, out- 
and-out investigation o' this misable business; but, alas, the 
money ain't there; you k'n send and see, if you want to." 

" Where is it, then?" 

"Well, when my niece give it to me to keep for her I took and 
hid it inside o' the straw tick o' my bed, not wishin' to bank it for 
the few days we'd be here and considerin' the bed a safe place, 
we not bein' used to niggers, and suppos'n' 'em honest, like 
servants in England. The niggers stole it the very next mornin' 
after I had went down-stairs; and when I sold 'em I hadn't 
missed the money yit, so they got clean away with it. My serv- 
ant here k'n tell you 'bout it, gentlemen." 

The doctor and several said "Shucks!" and I see nobody 
didn't altogether believe him. One man asked me if I see the 
niggers steal it. I said no, but I seen them sneaking out of the 
room and hustling away, and I never thought nothing, only I 
reckoned they was afraid they had waked up my master and 
was trying to get away before he made trouble with them. That 
was all they asked me. Then the doctor whirls on me and says : 

"Are you English, too?" 

I says yes; and him and some others laughed, and said, 

Well, then they sailed in on the general investigation, and 
there we had it, up and down, hour in, hour out, and nobody 
never said a word about supper, nor ever seemed to think about 
it and so they kept it up, and kept it up ; and it was the worst 
mixed-up thing you ever see. They made the king tell his yarn, 
and they made the old gentleman tell his'n ; and nobody but a 


lot of prejudiced chuckleheads would 'a' seen that the old 
gentleman was spinning truth and t'other one lies. And by and 
by they had me up to tell what I knowed. The king he give me 
a left-handed look out of the corner of his eye, and so I knowed 
enough to talk on the right side. I begun to tell about Sheffield 
and how we lived there, and all about the English Wilkses, and 
so on; but I didn't get pretty fur till the doctor began to laugh; 
and Levi Bell, the lawyer says: 

"Set down, my boy; I wouldn't strain myself if I was you. 
I reckon you ain't used to lying, it don't seem to come handy; 
what you want is practice. You do it pretty awkward." 

I didn't care nothing for the compliment, but I was glad to 
be let off, anyway. 

The doctor he started to say something, and turns and says : 

"If you'd been in town at first, Levi Bell " 

The king broke in and reached out his hand, -and says : 

"Why, is this my poor dead brother's old friend that he's 
wrote so often about?" 

The lawyer and him shook hands, and the lawyer smiled and 
looked pleased, and they talked right along awhile, and then 
got to one side and talked low; and at last the lawyer speaks 
up and says : 

"That'll fix it. I'll take the order and send it, along with your 
brother's, and then they'll know it's all right." 

So they got some paper and a pen, and the king he set down 
and twisted his head to one side, and chawed his tongue, and 
scrawled off something; and then they give the pen to the duke 
and then for the first time the duke looked sick. But he took 
the pen and wrote. So then the lawyer turns to the new old 
gentleman and says: 

"You and your brother please write a line or two and sign 
your names." 

The old gentleman wrote, but nobody couldn't read it. The 
lawyer looked powerful astonished, and says : 


"Well, it beats me" and snaked a lot of old letters out of his 
pocket, and examined them, and then examined the old man's 
writing, and then them again; and he says: " These old letters is 
from Harvey Wilks; and here's these two handwritings, and 
anybody can see they didn't write them" (the king and the 
duke looked sold and foolish, I tell you, to see how the lawyer 
had took them in), "and here's this old gentleman's handwrit- 
ing, and anybody can tell, easy enough, he didn't write them 
fact is, the scratches he makes ain't properly writing at all. 
Now, here's some letters from " 

The new old gentleman says : 

"If you please, let me explain. Nobody can read my hand 
but my brother there so he copies for me. It's his hand you've 
got there, not mine." 

"Well!" says the lawyer, "this is a state of things. I've got 
some of William's letters, too; so if you'll get him to write a 
line. or so we can com " 

"He can't write with his left hand," says the old gentleman. 
"If he could use his right hand, you would see that he wrote 
his own letters and mine too. Look at both, please they're by 
the same hand." 

The lawyer done it, and says : 

"I believe it's so and if it ain't so, there's a heap stronger 
resemblance than I'd noticed before, anyway. Well, well, well! 
I thought we was right on the track of a slution, but it's gone to 
grass, partly. But anyway, one thing is proved these two ain't 
either of 'em Wilkses" and he wagged his head towards the 
king and the duke. 

Well, what do you think? That mule-headed old fool wouldn't 
give in then! Indeed he wouldn't. Said it warn't no fair test. 
Said his brother William was the cussedest joker in the world, 
and hadn't tried to write he sees William was going to play 
one of his jokes the minute he put the pen to paper. And so he 
warmed up and went warbling right along till he was actuly 


beginning to believe what he was saying himself; but pretty 
soon the new gentleman broke in, and says: 

"I've thought of something. Is there anybody here that 
helped to lay out my br helped to lay out the late Peter Wilks 
for burying?" 

"Yes," says somebody, "me and Ab Turner done it. We're 
both here." 

Then the old man turns toward the king, and says : 

"Peraps this gentleman can tell me what was tattooed on 
his breast?" 

Blamed if the king didn't have to brace up mighty quick, or 
he'd 'a' squshed down like a bluff bank that the river has cut 
under, it took him so sudden; and, mind you, it was a thing that 
was calculated to make most anybody sqush to get fetched such 
a solid one as that without any notice, because how was he going 
to know what was tattooed on the man? He whitened a little; 
he couldn't help it ; and it was mighty still in there, and every- 
body bending a little forwards and gazing at him. Says I to 
myself, Now he'll throw up the sponge there ain't no more 
use. Well, did he? A body can't hardly believe it, but he didn't. 
I reckon he thought he'd keep the thing up till he tired them 
people out, so they'd thin out, and him and the duke could break 
loose and get away. Anyway, he set there, and pretty soon he 
begun to smile, and says: 

"Mf ! It's a very tough question, ain't it! Yes, sir, I k'n tell 
you what's tattooed on his breast. It's jest a small, thin, blue 
arrow that's what it is ; and if you don't look clost, you can't 
see it. Now what do you say hey?" 

Well, I never see anything like that old blister for clean out- 
and-out cheek. 

The new old gentleman turns brisk towards Ab Turner and 
his pard, and his eye lights up like he judged he'd got the king 
this time, and says : 


"There you've heard what he said! Was there any such 
mark on Peter Wilks's breast?" 

Both of them spoke up and says : 

"We didn't see no such mark." 

"Good!" says the old gentleman. "Now, what you did see on 
his breast was a small dim P, and a B (which is an initial he 
dropped when he was young), and a W, and dashes between 
them, so: P B W" and he marked them that way on a 
piece of paper. "Come, ain't that what you saw?" 

Both of them spoke up again, and says: 

"No we didn't. We never seen any marks at all." 

Well, everybody was in a state of mind now, and they sings 

"The whole bilin' of 'm 's frauds! Le's duck 'em! le's drown 
'em! le's ride 'em on a rail!" and everybody was whooping at 
once, and there was a rattling powwow. But the lawyer he 
jumps on the table and yells, and says: 

"Gentlemen gentlemen! Hear me just a word just a 
single word if you PLEASE! There's one way yet let's go and 
dig up the corpse and look." 

That took them. 

"Hooray!" they all shouted, and was starting right off; but 
the lawyer and the doctor sung out: 

"Hold on, hold on! Collar all these four men and the boy, 
and fetch them along, too!" 

"We'll do it!" they all shouted; "and if we don't find them 
marks we'll lynch the whole gang!" 

I was scared now, I tell you. But there warn't no getting 
away, you know. They gripped us all, and marched us right 
along, straight for the graveyard, which was a mile and a half 
down the river, and the whole town at our heels, for we made 
noise enough, and it was only nine in the evening. 

As we went by our house I wished I hadn't sent Mary Jane 


out of town ; because now if I could tip her the wink she'd light 
out and save me, and blow on our dead-beats. 

Well, we swarmed along down the river road, just carrying 
on like wildcats ; and to make it more scary the sky was darking 
up, and the lightning beginning to wink and flitter, and the 
wind to shiver amongst the leaves. This wa % s the most awful 
trouble and most dangersome I ever was in ; and I was kinder 
stunned; everything was going so different from what I had 
allowed for ; stead of being fixed so I could take my own time 
if I wanted to, and see all the fun, and have Mary Jane at my 
back to save me and set me free when the close-fit come, here 
was nothing in the world betwixt me and sudden death but just 
them tattoo-marks. If they didn't find them 

I couldn't bear to think about it ; and yet, somehow, I couldn't 
think about nothing else. It got darker and darker, and it was 
a beautiful time to give the crowd the slip ; but that big husky 
had me by the wrist Hines and a body might as well try to 
give Goliar the slip. He dragged me right along, he was so ex- 
cited, and I had to run to keep up. 

When they got there they swarmed into the graveyard and 
washed over it like an overflow. And when they got to the grave 
they found they had about a hundred times as many shovels 
as they wanted, but nobody hadn't thought to fetch a lantern. 
But they sailed into digging anyway by the flicker of the light- 
ning, and sent a man to the nearest house, a half a mile off, to 
borrow one. 

So they dug and dug like everything; and it got awful dark, 
and the rain started, and the wind swished and swushed along, 
and the lightning come brisker and brisker, and the thunder 
boomed; but them people never took no notice of it, they was 
so full of this business ; and one minute you could see everything 
and every face in that big crowd, and the shovelfuls of dirt sail- 
ing up out of the grave, and the next second the dark wiped 
it all out, and you couldn't see nothing at all. 


At last they got out the coffin and begun to unscrew the lid, 
and then such another crowding and shouldering and shoving 
as there was, to scrouge in and get a sight, you never see ; and 
in the dark, that way, it was awful. Hines he hurt my wrist 
dreadful pulling and tugging so, and I reckon he clean forgot 
I was in the world, he was so excited and panting. 

All of a sudden the lightning let go a perfect sluice of white 
glare, and somebody sings out : 

"By the living jingo, here's the bag of gold on his breast!" 

Hines let out a whoop, like everybody else, and dropped my 
wrist and give a big surge to bust his way in and get a look, and 
the way I lit out and shinned for the road in the dark there ain't 
nobody can tell. 

I had the road all to myself, and I fairly flew leastways, I 
had it all to myself except the solid dark, and the now-and-then 
glares, and the buzzing of the rain, and the thrashing of the 
wind, and the splitting of the thunder; and sure as you are born 
I did clip it along! 

When I struck the town I see there warn't nobody out in the 
storm, so I never hunted for no back streets, but humped in 
straight through the main one; and when I begun to get to- 
wards our house I aimed my eye and set it. No light there ; the 
house all dark which made me feel sorry and disappointed, I 
didn't know why. But at last, just as I was sailing by, flash 
comes the light in Mary Jane's window! and my heart swelled 
up sudden, like to bust ; and the same second the house and all 
was behind me in the dark, and wasn't ever going to be before 
me no more in this world. She was the best girl I ever see, and 
had the most sand. 

The minute I was far enough above the town to see I could 
make the towhead, I begun to look sharp for a boat to borrow, 
and the first time the lightning showed me one that wasn't 
chained I snatched it and shoved. It was a canoe, and warn't 
fastened with nothing but a rope. The towhead "was a rattling 


big distance off, away out there in the middle of the river, but 
I didn't lose no time ; and when I struck the raft at last I was 
so fagged I would 'a' just laid down to blow and gasp if I could 
afforded it. But I didn't. As I sprung aboard I sung out: 

"Out with you, Jim, and set her loose! Glory be to goodness, 
we're shut of them!" 

Jim lit out, and was a-coming for me with both arms spread, 
he was so full of joy ; but when I glimpsed him in the lightning 
my heart shot up in my mouth and I went overboard back- 
wards; for I forgot he was old King Lear and a drownded 
A-rab all in one, and it most scared the livers and lights out of 
me. But Jim fished me out, and was going to hug me and bless 
me, and so on, he was so glad I was back and we was shut of the 
king and the duke, but I says : 

"Not now; have it for breakfast, have it for breakfast! Cut 
loose and let her slide!" 

So in two seconds away we went a-sliding down the river, and 
it did seem so good to be free again and all by ourselves on the 
big river, and nobody to bother us. I had to skip around a bit, 
and jump up and crack my heels a few times I couldn't help 
it; but about the third crack I noticed a sound that I knowed 
mighty well, and held my breath and listened and waited ; and 
sure enough, when the next flash busted out over the water, here 
they come! and just a-laying to their oars and making their 
skiff hum ! It was the king and the duke. 

So I wilted right down onto the planks then, and give up; 
and it was all I could do to keep from crying. 


HEN they got aboard the king went for me, and shook 
me by the collar, and says : 

"Tryin' to give us the slip, was ye, you pup! Tired of our 
company, hey?" 

I says : 

"No, your majesty, we warn't please don't, your majesty I" 

"Quick, then, and tell us what was your idea, or I'll shake the 
insides out o' you!" 

"Honest, I'll tell you everything just as it happened, your 
majesty. The man that had a-holt of me was very good to me, 
and kept saying he had a boy about as big as me that died last 
year, and he was sorry to see a boy in such a dangerous fix ; and 
when they was all took by surprise by finding the gold, and 
made a rush for the coffin, he lets go of me and whispers, 'Heel 
it now, or they'll hang ye, sure!' and I lit out. It didn't seem no 
good for me to stay I couldn't do nothing, and I didn't want 
to be hung if I could get away. So I never stopped running till 
I found the canoe ; and when I got here I told Jim to hurry, or 
they'd catch me and hang me yet, and said I was afeard you 
and the duke wasn't alive now, and I was awful sorry, and so 
was Jim, and was awful glad when we see you coming; you 
may ask Jim if I didn't." 

Jim said it was so; and the king told him to shut up, and said, 



"Oh, yes, it's mighty likely!" and shook me up again, and said 
he reckoned he'd drownd me. But the duke says: 

"Leggo the boy, you old idiot 1 Would you 'a' done any dif- 
ferent? Did you inquire around for him when you got loose? 
I don't remember it." 

So the king let go of me, and begun to cuss that town and 
everybody in it. But the duke says : 

"You better a blame' sight give yourself a good cussing, for 
you're the one that's entitled to it most. You hain't done a thing 
from the start that had any sense in it, except coming out so 
cool and cheeky with that imaginary blue-arrow mark. That 
was bright it was right down bully ; and it was the thing that 
saved us. For if it hadn't been for that they'd V jailed us till 
them Englishmen's baggage come and then the peniten- 
tiary, you bet! But that trick took 'em to the graveyard, and 
the gold done us a still bigger kindness ; for if the excited fools 
hadn't let go all holts and made that rush to get a look we'd 'a' 
slept in our cravats to-night cravats warranted to wear, too 
longer than we'd need 'em." 

They was still a minute thinking ; then the king says, kind 
of absent-minded like : 

"Mf ! And we reckoned the niggers stole it!" 

That made me squirm! 

"Yes," says the duke, kinder slow and deliberate and sar- 
castic, "we did." 

After about a half a minute the king drawls out : 

"Leastways, / did." 

The duke says, the same way : 

"On the contrary, I did." 

The king kind of ruffles up, and says: 

"Looky here, Bilgewater, what'r you referrin' to?" The duke 
says, pretty brisk: 

"When it comes to that, maybe you'll let me ask what was. 
you referring to?" 


"Shucks!" says the king, very sarcastic; "but I don't know 
maybe you was asleep, and didn't know what you was about." 

The duke bristles up now, and says : 

"Oh, let up on this cussed nonsense; do you take me for a 
blame' fool? Don't you reckon / know who hid that money in 
that coffin?" 

ff YeSj sir! I know you do know, because you done it your- 

"It's a lie!" and the duke went for him. The king sings out: 

"Take y'r hands off! leggo my throat! I take it all back!" 

The duke says: 

"Well, you just own up, first, that you did hide that money 
there, intending to give me the slip one of these days, and come 
back and dig it up, and have it all to yourself." 

"Wait jest a minute, duke answer me this one question, 
honest and fair ; if you didn't put the money there, say it, and 
I'll believe you, and take back everything I said." 

"You old scoundrel, I didn't, and you know I didn't. There, 

"Well, then, I b'lieve you. But answer me only jest this one 
more now don't git mad; didn't you have it in your mind to 
hook the money and hide it?" 

The duke never said nothing for a little bit ; then he says : 

"Well, I don't care if I did, I didn't do it, anyway. But you 
not only had it in mind to do it, but you done it." 

"I wish I never die if I done it, duke, and that's honest. I 
won't say I warn't goiri to do it, because I was; but you I 
mean somebody got in ahead o' me." 

"It's a lie! You done it, and you got to say you done it, or " 

The king began to gurgle, and then he gasps out : 

" 'Nough! I own up!" 

I was very glad to hear him say that; it made me feel much 
more easier than what I was feeling before. So the duke took his 
hands off and says: 


"If you ever deny it again I'll drown you. It's well for you 
to set there and blubber like a baby it's fitten for you, after 
the way you've acted. I never see such an old ostrich for want- 
ing to gobble everything arid I a-trusting you all the time, 
like you was my own father. You ought to been ashamed of 
yourself to stand by and hear it saddled on to a lot of poor nig- 
gers, and you never say a word for 'em. It makes me feel ridic- 
ulous to think I was soft enough to believe that rubbage. Cuss 
you, I can see now why you was so anxious to make up the deffi- 
sit you wanted to get what money I'd got out of the 'None- 
such' and one thing or another, and scoop it all!" 

The king says, timid, and still a-snuffling: 

"Why, duke, it was you that said make up the deffersit; it 
warn't me." 

"Dry up! I don't want to hear no more out of you!" says the 
duke. "And now you see what you got by it.* They've got all 
their own money back, and all of ourn but a shekel or two be- 
sides. G'long to bed, and don't you deffersit me no more deffer- 
sits, long's you live!" 

So the king sneaked into the wigwam and took to his bottle 
for comfort, and before long the duke tackled his bottle ; and so 
in about a half an hour they was as thick as thieves again, and 
the tighter they got the lovinger they got, and went off a-snor- 
ing in each other's arms. They both got powerful mellow, but 
I noticed the king didn't get mellow enough to forget to re- 
member to not deny about hiding the money-bag again. That 
made me feel easy and satisfied. Of course when they got to 
snoring we had a long gabble, and I told Jim everything. 


DASN'T stop again at any town for days and days; 
kept right along down the river. We was down south in the 
warm weather now, and a mighty long ways from home. We 
began to come to trees with Spanish moss on them, hanging 
down from the limbs like long, gray beards. It was the first I 
ever see it growing, and it made the woods look solemn and dis- 
mal. So now the frauds reckoned they was out of danger, and 
they begun to work the villages again. 

First they done a lecture on temperance; but they didn't 
make enough for them both to get drunk on. Then in another 
village they started a dancing-school ; but they didn't know no 
more how to dance than a kangaroo does; so the first prance 
they made the general public jumped in and pranced them out 
of town. Another time they tried to go at yellocution ; but they 
didn't yellocute long till the audience got up and give them a 
solid good cussing, and made them skip out. They tackled mis- 
sionarying, and mesmerizing, and doctoring, and telling for- 
tunes, and a little of everything; but they couldn't seem to have 
no luck. So at last they got just about dead broke, and laid 
around the raft as she floated along, thinking and thinking, and 



never saying nothing, by the half a day at a time, and dreadful 
blue and desperate. 

And at last they took a change and begun to lay their heads 
together in the wigwam and talk low and confidential two or 
three hours at a time. Jim and me got uneasy. We didn't like 
the look of it. We judged they was studying up some kind of 
worse deviltry than ever. We turned it over and over, and at 
last we made up our minds they was going to break into some- 
body's house or store, or was going into the counterfeit money 
business, or something. So then we was pretty scared, and made 
up an agreement that we wouldn't have nothing in the world to 
do with such actions, and if we ever got the least show we would 
give them the cold shake and clear out and leave them behind. 
Well, early one morning we hid the raft in a good, safe place 
about two mile below a little bit of a shabby village named 
Pikesville, and the king he went ashore and told us all to stay 
hid whilst he went up to town and smelt around to see if any- 
body had got any wind of the "Royal Nonesuch" there yet. 
("House to rob, you mean'' says I to myself; "and when you 
get through robbing it you'll come back here and wonder what 
has become of me and Jim and the raft and you'll have to take 
it out in wondering.") And he said if he warn't back my mid- 
day the duke and me would know it was all right, and we was 
to come along. 

So we stayed where we was. The duke he fretted and sweated 
around, and was in a mighty sour way. He scolded us for every- 
thing, and we couldn't seem to do nothing right ; he found fault 
with every little thing. Something was a-brewing, sure. I was 
good and glad when midday come and no king; we could have a 
change, anyway and maybe a chance for the chance on top of 
it. So me and the duke went up to the village, and hunted 
around there for the king, and by and by we found him in the 
back room of a little low doggery, very tight, and a lot of loaf- 
ers bullyragging him for sport, and he a-cussing and a-threat- 


ening with all his might, and so tight he couldn't walk, and 
couldn't do nothing to them. The duke he begun to abuse him 
for an old fool, and the king begun to sass back, and the min- 
ute they was fairly at it I lit out and shook the reefs out of my 
hind legs, and spun down the river road like a deer, for I 
see our chance ; and I made up my mind that it would be a long 
day before they ever see me and Jim again. I got down there all 
out of breath but loaded up with joy, and sung out: 

"Set her loose, Jim; we're all right now!" 

But there warn't no answer, and nobody come out of the wig- 
wam. Jim was gone ! I set up a shout and then another and 
then another one; and run this way and that in the woods, 
whooping and screeching; but it warn't no use old Jim was 
gone. Then I set down and cried; I couldn't help it. But I 
couldn't set still long. Pretty soon I went out on the road, try- 
ing to think what I better do, and I run across a -boy walking, 
and asked him if he'd seen a strange nigger dressed so and so, 
and he says : 


"Whereabouts?" says I. 

"Down to Silas Phelps's place, two mile below here. He's a 
runaway nigger, and they've got him. Was you looking for 

"You bet I ain't ! I run across him in the woods about an hour 
or two ago, and he said if I hollered he'd cut my livers out and 
told me to lay down and stay where I was; and I done it. Been 
there ever since; af eared to come out." 

"Well," he says, "you needn't be afeared no more, becuz 
they've got him. He run off f'm down South, som'ers." 

"It's a good job they got him." 

"Well, I reckon! There's two hundred dollars' reward on 
him. It's like picking up money out'n the road." 

"Yes, it is and / could 'a' had it if I'd been big enough! I 
see him first. Who nailed him?" 


"It was an old fellow a stranger and he sold out his chance 
in him for forty dollars, becuz he's got to go up the river and 
can't wait. Think o' that, now! You bet I'd wait, if it was seven 

"That's me, every time," says I. "But maybe his chance ain't 
worth no more than that, if he'll sell it so cheap. May be there's 
something ain't straight about it." 

"But it is, though straight as a string. I see the handbill 
myself. It tells all about him, to a dot paints him like a pic- 
ture, and tell the plantations he's frum, below Newrleans. No- 
siree-&o&, they ain't no trouble 'bout that speculation, you bet 
you. Say, gimme a chaw tobacker, won't ye?" 

I didn't have none, so he left. I went to the raft, and set down 
in the wigwam to think. But I couldn't come to nothing. I 
thought till I wore my head sore, but I couldn't see no way out 
of the trouble. After all this long journey, and after all we'd 
done for them scoundrels, here it was all come to nothing, 
everything all busted up and ruined, because they could have 
the heart to serve Jim such a trick as that, and make him a slave 
again all his life, and amongst strangers, too, for forty dirty 

Once I said to myself it would be a thousand times better for 
Jim to be a slave at home where his family was as long as he'd 
got to be a slave, and so I'd better write a letter to Tom Sawyer 
and tell him to tell Miss Watson where he was. But I soon give 
up that notion for two things : she'd be mad and disgusted at his 
rascality and ungratefulness for leaving her, and so she'd sell 
him straight down the river again ; and if she didn't, everybody 
naturally despises an ungrateful nigger, and they'd make Jim 
feel it all the time, and so he'd feel ornery and disgraced. And 
then think of me! It would get all around that Huck Firm 
helped a nigger to get his freedom; and if I was ever to see 
anybody from that town again I'd be ready to get down and 
lick his boots for shame. That's just the way: a person does a 

you CAN'T PBAY A LIE 253 

low-down thing, and then he don't want to take no consequences 
of it. Thinks as long as he can hide, it ain't no disgrace. That 
was my fix exactly. The more I studied about this the more 
my conscience went to grinding me, and the more wicked and 
low-down and ornery I got to feeling. And at last, when it hit 
me all of a sudden that here was the plain hand of Providence 
slapping me in the face and letting me know my wickedness 
was being watched all the time from up there in heaven, whilst 
I was stealing a poor old woman's nigger that hadn't ever done 
me no harm, and now was showing me there's One that's always 
on the lookout, and ain't a-going to allow no such miserable do- 
ings to go only just so fur and no further, I most dropped 
in my tracks I was so scared. Well, I tried the best I could 
to kinder soften it up somehow for myself by saying I 
was brung up wicked, and so I warn't so much to blame, but 
something inside of me kept saying, "There was the Sunday- 
school, you could 'a' gone to it ; and if you'd 'a' done it they'd 'a' 
learnt you there that people that acts as I'd been acting about 
the nigger goes to everlasting fire." 

It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray, 
and see if I couldn't try to quit being the kind of a boy I was 
and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn't come. 
Why wouldn't they? It warn't no use to try and hide it from 
Him. Nor from me, neither. I knowed very well why they 
wouldn't come. It was because my heart warn't right; it was 
because I warn't square ; it was because I was playing double. 
I was letting on to give up sin, but away inside of me I was 
holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my 
mouth say I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and 
go and write to that nigger's owner and tell where he was ; but 
deep down in me I knowed it was a lie. and He knowed it. You 
can't pray a lie I found that out. 

So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn't know 
what to do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I'll go and write 


the letter and then see if I can pray. Why, it was astonishing, 
the way I felt as light as a feather right straight off, and my 
troubles all gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all 
glad and excited, and set down and wrote: 

Miss Watson, your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile below 
Pikes ville, and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for the 
reward if you send. HUCK FINN. 

I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had 
ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I 
didn't do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there 
thinking thinking how good it was all this happened so, and 
how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on 
thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; 
and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the 
night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we 
aTfloating along, talking and singing and laughing. But some- 
how I couldn't seem to strike no places to harden me against 
him, but only the other kind. I'd see him standing my watch on 
top of his'n, 'stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and 
see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog ; and 
when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the 
feud was; and suchlike times; and would always call me honey, 
and pet me, and do everything he could think of for me, and 
how good he always was ; and at last I struck the time I saved 
him by telling the men we had smallpox aboard, and he was so 
grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the 
world, and the only one he's got now; and then I happened to 
look around and see that paper. 

It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I 
was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two 
things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my 
breath, and then says to myself: 

"All right, then, I'll go to hell" and tore it up. 


"Miss Mary Jane, you can't abear to see people in 
trouble, and I cant most always. Tell me about 



It was awful thoughts and awful words, but they was said. 
And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about 
reforming. I shoved the whole thing out of my head, and said I 
would take up wickedness again, which was in my line, being 
brung up to it, and the other warn't. And for a starter I would 
go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again; and if I could 
think up anything worse, I would do that, too ; because as long 
as I was in, and in for good, I might as well go the whole 

Then I set to thinking over how to get at it, and turned over 
some considerable many ways in my mind; and at last fixed 
up a plan that suited me. So then I took the bearings of a woody 
island that was down the river a piece, and as soon as it was 
fairly dark I crept out with my raft and went for it, and hid it 
there, and then turned in. I slept the night through, and got up 
before it was light, and had my breakfast, and put on my store 
clothes, and tied up some others and one thing or another in a 
bundle, and took the canoe and cleared for shore. I landed be- 
low where I judged was Phelps's place, and hid my bundle 
in the woods, and then filled up the canoe with water, and 
loaded rocks into her arid sunk her where I could find her again 
when I wanted her, about a quarter of a mile below a little 
steam-sawmill that was on the bank. 

Then I struck up the road, and when I passed the mill I see 
a sign on it, "Phelps's Sawmill," and when I come to the farm- 
houses, two or three hundred yards further along, I kept my 
eyes peeled, but didn't see nobody around, though it was good 
daylight now. But I didn't mind, because I didn't want to see 
nobody just yet I only wanted to get the lay of the land. Ac- 
cording to my plan, I was going to turn up there from the vil- 
lage, not from below. So I just took a look, and shoved along, 
straight for town. Well, the very first man I see when I got 
there was the duke. He was sticking up a bill for the "Royal 
Nonesuch" three-night performance like that other time. 


They had the cheek, them frauds ! I was right on him before I 
could shirk. He looked astonished, and says: 

"Hel-/o/ Where'd you come from?" Then he says, kind of 
glad and eager, "Where's the raft? got her in a good place?" 

I says: 

"Why, that's just what I was going to ask your grace." 

Then he didn't look so joyful, and says: 

"What was your idea for asking me?" he says. 

"Well," I says, "when I see the king in that doggery yester- 
day I says to myself, we can't get him home for hours, till he's 
soberer ; so I went a-loafing around town to put in the time and 
wait. A man up and offered me ten cents to help him pull a skiff 
over the river and back to fetch a sheep, and so I went along; 
but when we was dragging him to the boat, and the man left 
me a-holt of the rope and went behind him to shove him along, 
he was too strong for me and jerked loose and run, and we after 
him. We didn't have no dog, and so we had ^ to chase him all 
over the country till we tired him out. We never got him till 
dark; then we fetched him over, and I started down for the 
raft. When I got there and see it was gone, I says to myself, 
'They've got into trouble and had to leave; and they've took 
my nigger, which is the only nigger I've got in the world, and 
now I'm in a strange country, and ain't got no property no 
more, nor nothing, and no way to make my living; so I set 
down and cried. I slept in the woods all night. But what did 
become of the raft, then? and Jim poor Jim!" 

"Blamed if I know that is, what's become of the raft. 
That old fool had made a trade and got forty dollars, and when 
we found him in the doggery the loafers had matched half-dol- 
lars with him and got every cent but what he'd spent for whisky ; 
and when I got him home late last night and found the raft 
gone, we said, 'That little rascal has stole our raft and shook us, 
and run off down the river.' " 


"I wouldn't shake my nigger, would I? the only nigger I 
had in the world, and the only property." 

"We never thought of that. Fact is, I reckon we'd come to 
consider him our nigger ; yes, we did consider him so goodness 
knows we had trouble enough for him. So when we see the raft 
was gone and we flat broke, there warn't anything for it but to 
try the 'Royal Nonesuch' another shake. And I've pegged along 
ever since, dry as a powder-horn. Where's that ten cents ? Give 
it here." 

I had considerable money, so I give him ten cents, but begged 
him to spend it for something to eat, and give me some, because 
it was all the money I had, and I hadn't had nothing to eat since 
yesterday. He never said nothing. The next minute he whirls 
on me and says : 

"Do you reckon that nigger would blow on us? We'd skin 
him if he done that!" 

"How can he blow? Hain't he run off?" 

"No! That old fool sold him, and never divided with me, and 
the money's gone." 

ff Sold him?" I says, and begun to cry; "why, he was my nig- 
ger, and that was my money. Where is he? I want my nigger." 

"Well, you can't get your nigger, that's all so dry up your 
blubbering. Looky here do you think youd venture to blow 
on us? Blamed if I think I'd trust you. Why, if you was to 
blow on us " 

He stopped, but I never see the duke look so ugly out of his 
eyes before. I went on a-whimpering, and says : 

"I don't want to blow on nobody; and I ain't got no time to 
blow, nohow; I got to turn out and find my nigger." 

He looked kinder bothered, and stood there with his bills 
fluttering on his arm, thinking, and wrinkling up his forehead. 
At last he says : 

"I'll tell you something. We got to be here three days. If 


you'll promise you won't blow, and won't let the nigger blow, 
I'll tell you where to find him." 

So I promised, and he says : 

"A farmer by the name of Silas Ph " and then he stopped. 
You see, he started to tell me the truth ; but when he stopped 
that way, and begun to study and think again, I reckoned he 
was changing his mind. And so he was. He wouldn't trust me; 
he wanted to make sure of having me out of the way the whole 
three days. So pretty soon he says : 

"The man that bought him is named Abram Foster Abram 
G. Foster and he lives forty mile back here in the country, 
on the road to Lafayette." 

"All right," I says, "I can walk it in three days. And I'll 
start this very afternoon." 

"No you won't, you'll start now; and don't you lose any time 
about it, neither, nor do any gabbling by the jvay. Just keep a 
tight tongue in your head and move right along, and then you 
won't get into trouble with us, d'ye hear?" 

That was the order I wanted, and that was the one I played 
for. I wanted to be left free to work my plans. 

"So clear out," he says; "and you can tell Mr. Foster what- 
ever you want to. Maybe you can get him to believe that Jim 
is your nigger some idiots don't require documents least- 
ways I've heard there's such down South here. And when you 
tell him the handbill and the reward's bogus, maybe he'll be- 
lieve you when you explain to him what the idea was for getting 
'em out. Go 'long now, and tell him anything you want to; 
but mind you don't work your jaw any between here and 

So I left, and struck for the back country. I didn't look 
around, but I kinder felt like he was watching me. But I knowed 
I could tire him out at that. I went straight out in the country 
as much as a mile before I stopped; then I doubled back 
through the woods towards Phelps's. I reckoned I better start 


in on my plan straight off without fooling around, because I 
wanted to stop Jim's mouth till these fellows could get away. 
I didn't want no trouble with their kind. I'd seen all I wanted 
to of them, and wanted to get entirely shut of them. 



HEN I got there it was still and Sunday-like, and hot 
and sunshiny; the hands was gone to the fields; and there was 
them kind of faint dronings of bugs and flies in the air that 
makes it seem so lonesome and like everybody's dead and gone ; 
and if a breeze fans along and quivers the leaves it makes you 
feel mournful, because you feel like it's spirits whispering 
spirits that's been dead ever so many years and you always 
think they're talking about you. As a general thing it makes a 
body wish he was dead, too, and done with it all. 

Phelps's was one of these little one-horse cotton plantations, 
and they all look alike. A rail fence round a two-acre yard; a 
stile made out of logs sawed off and up-ended in steps, like 
barrels of a different length to climb over the fence with, and 
for the women to stand on when they are going to jump onto 
a horse ; some sickly grass-patches in the big yard, but mostly 
it was bare and smooth, like an old hat with the nap rubbed 
off; big double log house for the white folks hewed logs, with 
the chinks stopped up with mud or mortar, and these mud- 



stripes been whitewashed some time or another; round-log 
kitchen, with a big broad, open but roofed passage joining it 
to the house; log smokehouse back of the kitchen; three little 
log nigger cabins in a row t'other side the smokehouse; one 
little hut all by itself away down against the back fence, and 
some outbuildings down a piece the other side ; ash-hopper and 
big kettle to bile soap in by the little hut ; bench by the kitchen 
door, with bucket of water and a gourd ; hound asleep there in 
the sun; more hounds asleep round about; about three shade 
trees away off in a corner; some currant bushes and goose- 
berry bushes in one place by the fence; outside of the fence a 
garden and a watermelon patch ; then the cotton- fields begins, 
and after the fields the woods. 

I went around and dumb over the back stile by the ash-hop- 
per, and started for the kitchen. When I got a little ways I 
heard the dim hum of a spinning-wheel wailing along up and 
sinking along down again; and then I knowed for certain I 
wished I was dead for that is the lonesomest sound in the 
whole world. 

I went right along, not fixing up any particular plan, but 
just trusting to Providence to put the right words in my mouth 
when the time come; for I'd noticed that Providence always did 
put the right words in my mouth if I left it alone. 

When I got half-way, first one hound and then another got 
up and went for me, and of course I stopped and faced them, 
and kept still. And such another powwow as they made! In a 
quarter of a minute I was a kind of a hub of a wheel, as you 
may say spokes made out of dogs circle of fifteen of them 
packed together around me, with their necks and noses stretched 
up towards me, a-barking and howling; and more a-coming; 
you could see them sailing over fences and around corners from 

A nigger woman come tearing out of the kitchen with a roll- 
ing-pin in her hand, singing out, "Begone! you Tige! you Spot! 


begone sah!" and she fetched first one and then another of them 
a clip and sent them howling, and then the rest followed; and 
the next second half of them come back, wagging their tails 
around me, and making friends with me. There ain't no harm 
in a hound, nohow. 

And behind the woman comes a little nigger girl and two 
little nigger boys without anything on but tow-linen shirts, and 
they hung on to their mother's gown, and peeped out from be- 
hind her at me, bashful, the way they always do. And here come 
the white woman running from the house, about forty-five or 
fifty year old, bareheaded, and her spinning-stick in her hand ; 
and behind her comes her little white children, acting the same 
way the little niggers was going. She was smiling all over so 
she could hardly stand and says : 

"It's you, at last ain't it?" 

I out with a " Yes'm" before I thought. 

She grabbed me and hugged me tight; and then gripped me 
by both hands and shook and shook ; and the tears come in her 
eyes, and run down over; and she couldn't seem to hug and 
shake enough, and kept saying, "You don't look as much like 
your mother as I reckoned you would; but law sakes, I don't 
care for that, I'm so glad to see you! Dear, dear, it does seem 
like I could eat you up! Children, it's your cousin Tom! tell 
him howdy." 

But they ducked their heads, and put their fingers in their 
mouths, and hid behind her. So she run on: 

"Lize, hurry up and get him a hot breakfast right away or 
did you get your breakfast on the boat?" 

I said I had got it on the boat. So then she started for the 
house, leading me by the hand, and the children tagging after. 
When we ^ot there she set me down in a split-bottomed chair, 
and set herself down on a little low stool in front of me, holding 
both of my hands, and says : 

"Now I can have a good look at you ; and, laws-a-me, I've 


been hungry for it a many and a many a time, all these long 
years, and it's come at last! We been expecting you a couple 
of days and more. What kep' you? boat get aground?" 

"Yes'm she " 

"Don't say yes'm say Aunt Sally. Where'd she get 

I didn't rightly know what to say, because I didn't know 
whether the boat would be coming up the river or down. But I 
go a good deal on instinct; and my instinct said she would be 
coming up from down towards Orleans. That didn't help me 
much, though; for I didn't know the names of bars down that 
way. I see I'd got to invent a bar, or forget the name of the one 

we got aground on or Now I struck an idea, and fetched 

it out: 

"It warn't the grounding that didn't keep us back but a 
little. We blowed out a cylinder-head." 

"Good gracious! anybody hurt?" 

"No'm. Killed a nigger." 

"Well, it's lucky; because sometimes people do get hurt. Two 
years ago last Christinas your uncle Silas was coming up from 
Newrleans on the old Lolly Rook, and she blowed out a cyl- 
inder-head and crippled a man. And I think he died afterwards. 
He was a Baptist. Your Uncle Silas knowed a family in Baton 
llouge that knowed his people very well. Yes, I remember now, 
he did die. Mortification set in, and they had to amputate him. 
But it didn't save him. Yes, it was mortification that was it. 
He turned blue all over, and died in the hope of a glorious 
resurrection. They say he was a sight to look at. Your uncle's 
been up to the town every day to fetch you. And he's gone 
aga : n, not more'ii nn hour ago; he'll be back any minute now. 
You must 'a' met him on the road, didn't you? oldish man, 
with a" 

"No, I didn't see nobody, Aunt Sally. The boat landed just 
at daylight, and I left my baggage on the wharf -boat and went 


looking around the town and out a piece in the country, to put 
in the time and not get here too soon ; and so I come down the 
back way." 

" Who'd you give the baggage to?" 


"Why, child, it'll be stole!" 

"Not where I hid it I reckon it won't," I says. 

"How'd you get your breakfast so early on the boat?" 

It was kinder thin ice, but I says : 

"The captain see me standing around, and told me I better 
have something to eat before I went ashore; so he took me in 
the texas to the officers' lunch, and give me all I wanted." 

I was getting so uneasy I couldn't listen, good. I had my 
mind on the children all the time ; I wanted to get them out to 
one side and pump them a little, and find out who I was. But 
I couldn't get no show, Mrs. Phelps kept it up ^and run on so. 
Pretty soon she made the cold chills streak all down my back, 
because she says : 

"But here we're a-running on this way, and you hain't told 
me a word about Sis, nor any of them. Now I'll rest my works 
a little, and you start up yourn; just tell me everything tell 
me all about 'm all every 1 one of 'm; and how they are, and 
what they're doing, and what they told you to tell me, and 
every last thing you can think of." 

Well, I see I was up a stump and up it good. Providence 
had stood by me this fur all right, but I was hard and tight 
aground now. I see it warn't a bit of use to try to go ahead 
I'd got to throw up my hand. So I says to myself, here's an- 
other place where I got to resk the truth. I opened my mouth 
to begin ; but she grabbed me and hustled me in behind the bed, 
and says: 

"Here he comes! Stick your head down lower there, that 
'11 do; you can't be seen now. Don't you let on you're here. I'll 
play a joke on him. Children, don't you say a word." 


I see I was in a fix now. But it warn't no use to worry ; there 
warn't nothing to do but just hold still, and try and be ready 
to stand from under when the lightning struck. 

I had just one little glimpse of the old gentleman when he 
come in; then the bed hid him. Mrs. Phelps she jumps for him, 
and says : 

"Has he come?" 

"No," says her husband. 

"Good-ness gracious!" she says, "what in the world can have 
become of him?" 

"I can't imagine," says the old gentleman; "and I must say 
it makes me dreadful uneasy." 

"Uneasy!" she says; "I'm ready to go distracted! He must 
'a' come ; and you've missed him along the road. I know it's so 
something tells me so. 

"Why Sally, I couldn't miss him along the road you know 

"But oh, dear, dear, what will Sis say! He must 'a' come! 
You must 'a' missed him. He " 

"Oh, don't distress me any more'n I'm already distressed. I 
don't know what in the world to make of it. I'm at my wit's end, 
and I don't mind acknowledging 't I'm right down scared. But 
there's no hope that he's come; for he couldn't come and me 
miss him. Sally, it's terrible just terrible just terrible 
something's happened to the boat, sure!" 

"Why, Silas! Look yonder! up the road! ain't that some- 
body coming?" 

He sprung to the window at the head of the bed, and that 
give Mrs. Phelps the chance she wanted. She stooped down 
quick at the foot of the bed and give me a pull, and out I come ; 
and when he turned back from the window there she stood, 
a-beaming and a-smiling like a house afire, and I standing 
pretty meek and sweaty alongside. The old gentleman stared, 
and says : 


"Why, who's that?" 

"Who do you reckon 'tis?" 

"I hain't no idea. Who is it?" 

"It's Tom Sawijer!" 

By jings, I most slumped through the floor! But there warn't 
no time to swap knives; the old man grabbed me by the hand 
and shook, and kept on shaking; and all the time how the 
woman did dance around and laugh and cry; and then how 
they both did fire off questions about Sid, and Mary, and the 
rest of the tribe. 

But if they was joyful, it warn't nothing to what I was ; for it 
was like being born again, I was so glad to find out who I was. 
Well, they froze to me for two hours ; and at last, when my chin 
was so tired it couldn't hardly go any more, I had told them more 
about my family I mean the Sawyer family than ever hap- 
pened to any six Sawyer families. And I explained all about 
how we blowed out a cylinder-head at the mbuth of White 
River, and it took us three days to fix it. Which was all right, 
and worked first-rate; because they didn't know but what it 
would take three days to fix it. If I'd 'a' called it a bolt-head it 
would 'a' done just as well. 

Now I was feeling pretty comfortable all down one side, and 
pretty uncomfortable all up the other. Being Tom Sawyer was 
easy and comfortable, and it stayed easy and comfortable till 
by and by I hear a steamboat coughing along down the river. 
Then I says to myself, "S'pose Tom Sawyer comes down on 
that boat? And s'pose he steps in here any minute, and sings 
out my name before I can throw him a wink to keep quiet?" 

Well, I couldn't have it that way ; it wouldn't do at all. I 
must go up the road and waylay him. So I told the folks I 
reckoned I would go up to the town and fetch down my bag- 
gage. The old gentleman was for going along with me, but I 
said no, I could drive the horse myself, and I'd ruther he 
wouldn't take no trouble about me. 



I STARTED for town in the wagon, and when I was 
half-way I see a wagon coming, and sure enough it was Tom 
Sawyer, and I stopped and waited till he come along. I says 
"Hold on!" and it stopped alongside, and his mouth opened up 
like a trunk, and stayed so; and he swallowed two or three 
times like a person that's got a dry throat, and then says: 

"I hain't ever done you no harm. You know that. So, then, 
w r hat you want to come back and ha'nt me for?" 

I says: 

"I hain't come back I hain't been gone." 

When he heard my voice it righted him up some, but he 
warn't quite satisfied yet. He says : 

"Don't you play nothing on me, because I wouldn't on you. 
Honest injun, you ain't a ghost?" 

"Honest injun, I ain't," I says. 

"Well I I well, that ought to settle it, of course; but I 
can't somehow seem to understand it no way. Looky here, 
warn't you ever murdered at all?" 

"No. I warn't ever murdered at all I played it on them. 
You come in here and feel of me if you don't believe me." 

So he done it; and it satisfied him; and he was that glad to 
see me again he didn't know what to do. And he wanted to know 



all about it right off, because it was a grand adventure, and mys- 
terious, and so it hit him where he lived. But I said, leave it 
alone till by and by ; and told his driver to wait, and we drove 
off a little piece, and I told him the kind of a fix I was in, and 
what did he reckon we better do? He said, let him alone a min- 
ute, and don't disturb him. So he thought and thought, and 
pretty soon he says: 

"It's all right ; I've got it. Take my trunk in your wagon, and 
let on it's yourn ; and you turn back and fool along slow, so as 
to get to the house about the time you ought to; and I'll go 
towards town a piece, and take a fresh start, and get there a 
quarter or a half an hour after you ; and you needn't let on to 
know me at first." 

I says : 

"All right; but wait a minute. There's one more thing a 
thing that nobody don't know but me. And that is, there's a 
nigger here that I'm a-trying to steal out of Slavery, and his 
name is Jim old Miss Watson's Jim/' 

He says: 

"What! Why, Jim is " 

He stopped and went to studying. I says : 

ff l know what you'll say. You'll say it's dirty, low-down 
business; but what if it is? I'm low down; and I'm a-going to 
steal him, and I want you keep mum and not let on. Will you?'* 

His eye lit up, and he says : 

"I'll help you steal him!" 

Well, I let go all holts then, like I was shot. It was the most 
astonishing speech I ever heard and I'm bound to say Tom 
Sawyer fell considerable in my estimation. Only I couldn't be- 
lieve it. Tom Sawyer a nigger-stealer! 

"Oh, shucks!" I says; "you're joking." 

"I ain't joking, either." 

"Well, then," I says, "joking or no joking, if you hear any- 
thing said about a runaway nigger, don't forget to remember 


that you don't know nothing about him, and I don't know noth- 
ing about him." 

Then he took the trunk and put it in my wagon, and he drove 
off his way and I drove mine. But of course I forgot all about 
driving slow on accounts of being glad and full of thinking; 
so I got home a heap too quick for that length of a trip. The 
old gentleman was at the door, and he says : 

"Why, this is wonderful! Whoever would 'a' thought it was 
in that mare to do it? I wish we'd 'a' timed her. And she hain't 
sweated a hair not a hair. It's wonderful. Why, I wouldn't 
take a hundred dollars for that horse now I wouldn't, honest ; 
and yet I'd 'a' sold her for fifteen before, and thought 'twas all 
she was worth." 

That's all he said. He was the innocentest, best old soul I ever 
see. But it warn't surprising; because he warn't only just a 
farmer, he was a preacher, too, and had a little one-horse log 
church down back of the plantation, which he built it himself at 
his own expense, for a church and schoolhouse, and never 
charged nothing for his preaching, and it was worth it, too. 
There was plenty other fanner-preachers like that, and done 
the same way, down South, 

In about half an hour Tom's wagon drove up to the front 
stile, and Aunt Sally she see it through the window, because it 
was only about fifty yards, and says : 

"Why, there's somebody come! I wonder who 'tis? Why, I 
do believe it's a stranger. Jimmy" (that's one of the children), 
"run and tell Lize to put on another plate for dinner." 

Everybody made a rush for the front door, because, of course, 
a stranger don't come every year, and so he lays over the yaller- 
fever, for interest, when he does come. Tom was over the stile 
and starting for the house ; the wagon was spinning up the road 
for the village, and we was all bunched in the front door. Tom 
had his store clothes on, and an audience and that was always 
nuts for Tom Sawyer. In them circumstances it warn't no trou- 


ble to him tt> throw in an amount of style that was suitable. He 
warn't a boy to meeky along up that yard like a sheep ; no, he 
come ca'm and important, like the ram. When he got a-front 
of us he lifts his hat ever so gracious and dainty, like ^t was the 
lid of a box that had butterflies asleep in it and he didn't want 
to disturb them, and says : 

"Mr. Archibald Nichols, I presume?" 

"No, my boy," says the old gentleman, "I'm sorry to say 't 
your driver has deceived you; Nichols's place is down a matter 
of three mile more. Come in, come in.' 

Tom he took a look back over his shoulder, and says, "Too 
late he's out of sight." 

"Yes, he's gone, my son, and you must come in and eat your 
dinner with us ; and then we'll hitch up and take you down to 

"Oh, I can't make so much trouble; I couldn't think of it. 
I'll walk I don't mind the distance." 

"But we won't let you walk it wouldn't be Southern hos- 
pitality to do it. Come right in." 

"Oh, do" says Aunt Sally; "it ain't a bit of trouble to us, not 
a bit in the world. You must sta^. It's a long, dusty three mile, 
and we can't let you walk. And, besides, I've already told 'em 
to put on another plate when I see you coming ; so you mustn't 
disappoint us. Come right in and make yourself at home." 

So Tom he thanked them very hearty and handsome, and 
let himself be persuaded, and come in ; and when he was in he 
said he was a stranger from Hicksville, Ohio, and his name was 
William Thompson and he made another bow, 

Well, he run on, and on, and on, making up stuff about 
Hicksville and everybody in it he could invent, and I getting 
a little nervious, and wondering how this was going to help me 
out of my scrape; and at last, still talking along, he reached 
over and kissed Aunt Sally right on the mouth, and then set- 
tled back again in his chair comfortable, and was going on talk- 


ing; but she jumped up and wiped it off with the back of her 
hand, and says: 

"You owdacious puppy!" 

He looked kind of hurt, and says : 

"I'm surprised at you, m'am." 

"You're s'rp Why, what do you reckon / am? I've a good 
notion to take and Say, what do you mean by kissing me?" 

He looked kind of humble, and says : 

"I didn't mean nothing, m'am. I didn't mean no harm. I I 
thought you'd like it." 

"Why, you born fool!" She took up the spinning-stick, and 
it looked like it was all she could do to keep from giving him 
a crack with it. "What made you think I'd like it?" 

"Well, I don't know. Only, they they told me you 

"They told you I would. Whoever told you's another lunatic. 
I never heard the beat of it. Who's they?" 

"Why, everybody. They all said so, m'am." 

It was all she could do to hold in; and her eyes snapped, and 
her fingers worked like she wanted to scratch him; and she says: 

"Who's 'everybody'? Out with their names, or ther'll be an 
idiot short." 

He got up and looked distressed, and fumbled his hat, and 
says : 

"I'm sorry, and I warn't expecting it. They told me to. They 
all told me to. They all said, kiss her ; and said she'd like it. They 
all said it every one of them. But I'm sorry j m'am, and I 
won't do it no more I won't, honest." 

"You won't, won't you? Well, I sh'd reckon you won't!" 

"No'm, I'm honest about it; I won't ever do it again till you 
ask me." 

"Till I ask you! Well, I never see the beat of it in my born 
days ! I lay you'll be the Methusalem-numskull of creation be- 
fore ever / ask you or the likes of you." 


"Well," he says, "it does surprise me so. I can't make it out, 
somehow. They said you would, and I thought you would. But 
" He stopped and looked around slow, like he wished he 
could run across a friendly eye somewheres, and fetched upon 
the old gentleman's, and says, "Didn't you think she'd like me 
to kiss her, sir?" 

"Why, no; I I well, no, I b'lieve I didn't." 

Then he looks on around the same way to me, and says : 

"Tom, didn't you think Aunt Sally 'd open out her arms and 
say, 'Sid Sawyer ' " 

"My land!" she says, breaking in and jumping for him, "you 
impudent young rascal, to fool a body so " and was going 
to hug him, but he fended her off, and says : 

"No, not till you've asked me first." 

So she didn't lose no time, but asked him; and hugged him 
and kissed him over and over again, and then turned him over 
to the old man, and he took what was left. And after they got 
a little quiet again she says: 

"Why, dear me, I never see such a surprise. We warn't look- 
ing for you at all, but only Tom. Sis never wrote to me about 
anybody coming but him." 

"It's because it war n't intended for any of us to come but 
Tom," he says; "but I begged and begged, and at the last min- 
ute she let me come, too; so, coming down the river, me and 
Tom thought it would be a first-rate surprise for him to come 
here to the house first, and for me to by and by tag along and 
drop in, and let on to be a stranger. But it was a mistake, Aunt 
Sally. This ain't no healthy place for a stranger to come." 

"No not impudent whelps, Sid. You ought to had your 
jaws boxed; I hain't been so put out since I don't know when. 
But I don't care, I don't mind the terms I'd be willing to 
stand a thousand such jokes to have you here. Well, to think 
of that performance! I don't deny it, I was most putrified with 
astonishment when you give me that smack." 


We had dinner out in that broad open passage betwixt the 
house and the kitchen; and there was things enough on that 
table for seven families and all hot, too ; none of your flabby, 
tough meat that's laid in a cupboard in a damp cellar all night 
and tastes like a hunk of old cold cannibal in the morning. 
Uncle Silas he asked a pretty long blessing over it, but it was 
worth it; and it didn't cool it a bit, neither, the way I've seen 
them kind of interruptions do lots of times. 

There was a considerable good deal of talk all the afternoon, 
and me and Tom was on the lookout all the time ; but it warn't 
no use, they didn't happen to say nothing about any runaway 
nigger, and we was afraid to try to work up to it. But at supper, 
at night, one of the little boys says : 

"Pa, mayn't Tom and Sid and me go to the show?" 

"No," says the old man, "I reckon there ain't going to be 
any; and you couldn't go if there was; because the runaway 
nigger told Burton and me all about that scandalous show, and 
Burton said he would tell the people; so I reckon they've drove 
the owdacious loafers out of town before this time." 

So there it was ! but I couldn't help it. Tom and me was to 
sleep in the same room and bed; so, being tired, we bid good 
night and went up to bed right after supper, and dumb out of 
the window and down the lightning-rod, and shoved for the 
town; for I didn't believe anybody was going to give the king 
and the duke a hint, and so if I didn't hurry up and give them 
one they'd get into trouble sure. 

On the road Tom he told me all about how it was reckoned 
I was murdered, and how pap disappeared pretty soon, and 
didn't come back no more, and what a stir there was when Jim 
run away; and I told Tom all about our "Royal Nonesuch" 
rapscallions, and as much of the raft voyage as I had time to; 
and as we struck into the town and up through the middle of it 
it was as much as half after eight then here comes a raging 
rush of people with torches, and an awful whooping and yell- 


ing, and banging tin pans and blowing horns; and we jumped 
to one side to let them go by ; and as they went by I see they had 
the king and the duke astraddle of a rail that is, I knowed it 
was the king and the duke, though they was all over tar and 
feathers, and didn't look like nothing in the world that was 
human just looked like a couple of monstrous big soldier- 
plumes. Well, it made me sick to see it; and I was sorry for 
them poor pitiful rascals, it seemed like I couldn't ever feel any 
hardness against them any more in the world. It was a dreadful 
thing to see. Human beings can be awful cruel to one another. 

We see we was too late couldn't do no good. We asked some 
stragglers about it, and they said everybody went to the show 
looking very innocent; and laid low and kept dark till the poor 
old king was in the middle of his cavortings on the stage ; then 
somebody give a signal, and the house rose up and went for 

So we poked along back home, and I warn't feeling so brash 
as I was before, but kind of ornery, and humble, and to blame, 
somehow though / hadn't done nothing. But that's always the 
way ; it don't make no difference whether you do right or wrong, 
a person's conscience ain't got no sense, and just goes for him 
anyway. If I had a yaller dog that didn't know no more than a 
person's conscience does I would pison him. It takes up more 
room than all the rest of a person's insides, and yet ain't no 
good, nohow. Tom Sawyer he says the same. 


E STOPPED talking, and got to thinking. By and by 
Tom says: 

"Looky here, Huck, what fools we are to not think of it 
before! I bet I know where Jim is." 

"No! where?" 

"In that hut down by the ash-hopper. Why, looky here. 
When we was at dinner, didn't you see a nigger man go in there 
with some vittles?" 


"What did you think the vittles was for?" 

"For a dog." 

"So 'd I. Well, it wasn't for a dog." 


"Because part of it was watermelon." 

"So it was I noticed it. Well, it does beat all that I never 
thought about a dog not eating watermelon. It shows how a 
body can see and don't see at the same time." 

"Well, the nigger unlocked the padlock when he went in, 
and he locked it again when he came out. He fetched uncle a 
key about the time we got up from table same key, I bet. 
Watermelon shows man, lock shows prisoner; and it ain't likely 
there's two prisoners on such a little plantation, and where the 
people's all so kind and good. Jim's the prisoner. All right 



I'm glad \ye found it out detective fashion; I wouldn't give 
shucks for any other way. Now you work your mind, and study 
out a plan to steal Jim, and I will study out one, too; and we'll 
take the one we like the best." 

What a head for just a boy to have! If I had Tom Sawyer's 
head I wouldn't trade it off to be a duke, nor mate of a steam- 
boat, nor clown in a circus, nor nothing I can think of. I went 
to thinking out a plan, but only just to be doing something; I 
knowed very well where the right plan was going to come from. 
Pretty soon Tom says: 


"Yes," I says. 

"All right bring it out." 

"My plan is this," I says. "We can easy find out if it's Jim 
in there. Then get up my canoe to-morrow night, and fetch my 
raft over from the island. Then the first dark night that comes 
steal the key out of the old man's britches after he goes to bed, 
and shove off down the river on the raft with Jim, hiding day- 
times and running nights, the way me and Jim used to do be- 
fore. Wouldn't that plan work?" 

"Work? Why, cert'nly it would work, like rats a-fighting. 
But it's too blame' simple ; there ain't nothing to it. What's the 
good of a plan that ain't no more trouble than that? It's as mild 
as goose-milk. Why, Huck, it wouldn't make no more talk than 
breaking into a soap factory." 

I never said nothing, because I warn't expecting nothing 
different; but I knowed mighty well that whenever he got his 
plan ready it wouldn't have none of them objections to it. 

And it didn't. He told me what it was, and I see in a minute 
it was worth fifteen of mine for style, and would make Jim just 
as free a man as mine would, and maybe get us all killed 
besides. So I was satisfied, and said we would waltz in on it. I 
needn't tell what it was here, because I knowed it wouldn't stay 
the way it was. I knowed he would be changing it around every 


which way as we went along, and heaving in new bullinesses 
wherever he got a chance. And that is what he done. 

Well, one thing was dead sure, and that was that Tom 
Sawyer was in earnest, and was actually going to help steal 
that nigger out of slavery. That was the thing that was too 
many for me. Here was a boy that was respectable and well 
brung up ; and had a character to lose ; and folks at home that 
had characters ; and he was bright and not leather-headed ; and 
knowing and not ignorant; and not mean, but kind; and yet 
here he was, without any more pride, or Tightness, or feeling, 
than to stoop to this business, and make himself a shame, and 
his family a shame, before everybody. I couldn't understand it 
no way at all. It was outrageous, and I knowed I ought to just 
up and tell him so ; and so be his true friend, and let him quit 
the thing right where he was and save himself. And I did start 
to tell him ; but he shut me up, and says : 

"Don't you reckon I know what I'm about? Don't I gen- 
erly know what I'm about?" 


"Didn't I say I was going to help steal the nigger?" 


"Well, then." 

That's all he said, and that's all I said. It warn't no use to say 
any more ; because when he said he'd do a thing, he always done 
it. But I couldn't make out how he was willing to go into this 
thing; so I just let it go, and never bothered no more about it. 
If he was bound to have it so, I couldn't help it. 

When we got home the house was all dark and still; so we 
went on down to the hut by the ash-hopper for to examine it. 
We went through the yard so as to see what the hounds would 
do. They knowed us, and didn't make no more noise than coun- 
try dogs is always doing when anything comes by in the night. 
When we got to the cabin we took a look at the front and the 
two sides ; and on the side I warn't acquainted with which was 


the north side we found a square window-hole, up tolerable 
high, with just one stout board nailed across it. I says: 

"Here's the ticket. This hole's big enough for Jim to get 
through if we wrench off the board." 

Tom says: 

"It's as simple as tit-tat-toe, three-in-a-row, and as easy as 
playing hooky. I should hope we can find a way that's a little 
more complicated than that, Huck Finn." 

"Well, then," I says, "how'll it do to saw him out, the way 
I done before I was murdered that time?" 

"That's more like" he says. "It's real mysterious, and trou- 
blesome, and good," he says; "but I bet we can find a way that's 
twice as long. There ain't no hurry; le's keep on looking 

Betwixt the hut and the fence, on the back side, was a lean-to 
that joined the hut at the eaves, and was madp out of plank. It 
was as long as the hut, but narrow only about six foot wide. 
The door to it was at the south end, and was padlocked. Tom he 
went to the soap-kettle and searched around, and fetched back 
the iron thing they lift the lid with; so he took it and prized out 
one of the staples. The chain fell down, and we opened the door 
and went in, and shut it, and struck a match, and see the shed 
was only built against a cabin and hadn't no connection with 
it; and there warn't no floor to the shed, nor nothing in it but 
some old rusty played-out hoes and spades and picks and a 
crippled plow. The match went out, and so did we, and shoved 
in the staple again, and the door was locked as good as ever. 
Tom was joyful. He says: 

"Now we're all right. We'll dig him out. It '11 take about a 

Then we started for the house, and I went in the back door 
you only have to pull a buckskin latch-string, they don't fasten 
the doors but that war'nt romantical enough for Tom Sawyer; 
no way would do him but he must climb up the lightning-rod 


But after he got up half-way about three times, and missed fire 
and fell every time, and the last time most busted his brains 
out, he thought he'd got to give it up ; but after he was rested 
he allowed he would give her one more turn for luck, and this 
time he made the trip. 

In the morning we was up at break of day, and down to the 
nigger cabins to pet the dogs and make friends with the nigger 
that fed Jim if it was Jim that was being fed. The niggers was 
just getting through breakfast and starting for the fields; and 
Jim's nigger was piling up a tin pan with bread and meat and 
things; and whilst the others was leaving, the key come from 
the house. 

This nigger had a good-natured, chuckle-headed face, and 
his wool was all tied up in little bunches with thread. That was 
to keep witches off. He said the witches was pestering him 
awful these nights, and making him see all kinds of strange 
things, and hear all kinds of strange words and noises, and he 
didn't believe he was ever witched so long before in his life. He 
got so worked up, and got to running on so about his troubles, 
he forgot all about what he'd been a-going to do. So Tom says: 

"What's the vittles for? Going to feed the dogs?" 

The nigger kind of smiled around graduly over his face, like 
when you heave a brickbat in a mud-puddle, and he says : 

" Yes, Mars Sid, a dog. Cur'us dog, too. Does you want to go 
en look at 'im?" 


I hunched Tom, and whispers : 

"You going, right here in the daybreak? That warn't the 

"No, it warn't; but it's the plan now/' 

So, drat him, we went along, but I didn't like it much. When 
we got in w r e couldn't hardly see anything, it was so dark ; but 
Jim was there, sure enough, and could see us ; and he sings out : 

"Why. Huck! En good Ian'; ain' dat Misto Tom?" 


I just knowed how it would be; I just expected it. / didn't 
know nothing to do ; and if I had I couldn't 'a' done it, because 
that nigger busted in and says : 

"Why, de gracious sakes! do he know you genlmen?" 

We could see pretty well now. Tom he looked at the nigger, 
steady and kind of wondering, and says : 

"Does who know us?" 

"Why, dis-yer runaway nigger." 

"I don't reckon he does; but what put that into your head?" 

"What put it dar? Didn' he jis' dis minute sing out like he 
knowed you?" 

Tom says, in a puzzled-up kind of way: 

"Well, that's mighty curious. Who sung out? When did he 
sing out? What did he sing out?" And turns to me, perfectly 
ca'm, and says, "Did you hear anybody sing out?" 

Of course there warn't nothing to be said but the one thing; 
so I says: 

"No; I ain't heard nobody say nothing." 

Then he turns to Jim, and looks him over like he never see 
him before, and says: 

"Did you sing out?" 

"No, sah," says Jim; ff l hain't said nothing, sah." 

"Not a word?" 

"No, sah, I hain't said a word." 
* "Did you ever see us before?" 

"No, sah; not as / knows on." 

So Tom turns to the nigger, which was looking wild and dis- 
tressed* and says, kind of severe : 

"What do you reckon's the matter with you, anyway? What 
made you think somebody sung out?" 

"Oh, it's de dad-blame' witches, sah, en I wisht I was dead. 
I do. Dey's awluz at it, sah, en dey do mos' kill me, dey sk'yers 
me so. Please to don't tell nobody 'bout it sah, er ole Mars Silas 
he'll scole me; 'kase he say dey ain't no witches I jis' wish to 


goodness he was heah now den what would he say! I jis' bet 
he couldn' find no way to git aroun' it dis time. But it's awluz 
jis' so; people dat's sot, stays sot; dey won't look into notion' 
en fine it out f ' r deyselves, en when you fine it out en tell um 
'bout it dey doan' b'lieve you." 

Tom give him a dime, and said we wouldn't tell nobody ; and 
told him to buy some more thread to tie up his wool with ; and 
then looks at Jim, and says : 

"I wonder if Uncle Silas is going to hang this nigger. If I 
was to catch a nigger that was ungrateful enough to run away, 
/ wouldn't give him up, I'd hang him." And whilst the nigger 
stepped to the door to look at the dime and bite it to see if it 
was good, he whispers to Jim and says: 

"Don't ever let on to know us. And if you hear any digging 
going on nights, it's us; we're going to set you free." 

Jim only had time to grab us by the hand and squeeze it; 
then the nigger come back, and we said we'd come again some 
time if the nigger wanted us to; and he said he would, more 
particular if it was dark, because the witches went for him 
mostly in the dark, and it was good to have folks around then. 

a* ^i^V*:- 



T WOULD be most an hour yet till breakfast, so we left and 
struck down into the woods ; because Tom said we got to have 
some light to see how to dig by, and a lantern makes too much, 
and might get us into trouble ; what we must have was a lot of 
them rotten chunks that's called fox-fire, and just makes a soft 
kind of a glow when you lay them in a dark place. We fetched 
an armful and hid it in the weeds, and set down to rest, and 
Tom says, kind of dissatisfied : 

"Blame it, this whole thing is just as easy and awkward as 
it can be. And so it makes it so rotten difficult to get up a diffi- 
cult plan. There ain't no watchman to be drugged now there 
ought to be a watchman. There ain't even a dog to give a sleep- 
ing-mixture to. And there's Jim chained by one leg, with a 
ten-foot chain, to the leg of his bed ; why, all you got to do is to 
lift up the bedstead and slip off the chain. And Uncle Silas he 
trusts everybody; sends the key to the punkin-headed nigger, 
and don't send nobody to watch the nigger. Jim could V got 
out of that window-hole before this, only there wouldn't be no 



use trying to travel with a ten-foot chain on his leg. Why, drat 
it, Huck, it's the stupidest arrangement I ever see. You got to 
invent all the difficulties. Well, we can't help it; we got to do 
the best we can with the materials we've got. Anyhow, there's 
one thing there's more honor in getting him out through a lot 
of difficulties and dangers, where there warn't one of them fur- 
nished to you by the people who it was their duty to furnish 
them, and you had to contrive them all out of your own head. 
Now look at just that one thing of the lantern. When you come 
down to the cold facts, we simply got to let on that a lantern's 
resky. Why, we could work with a torchlight procession if we 
wanted to, / believe. Now, whilst I think of it, we got to hunt 
up something to make a saw out of the first chance we get." 

"What do we want of a saw?" 

"What do we want of a saw? Hain't we got to saw the leg 
of Jim's bed off, so as to get the chain loose?" 

"Why, you just said a body could lift up the bedstead and 
slip the chain off." 

"Well, if that ain't just like you, Huck Finn. You can get 
up the infant-schooliest ways of going at a thing. Why, hain't 
you ever read any books at all? Baron Trenck, nor Casanova, 
nor Benvenuto Chelleeny, nor Henri IV., nor none of them 
heroes? Who ever heard of getting a prisoner loose in such an 
old-maidy way as that? No; the way all the best authorities does 
is to saw the bed-leg in two, and leave it just so, and swallow 
the sawdust, so it can't be found, and put some dirt and grease 
around the sawed place so the very keenest seneskal can't see 
no sign of it being sawed, and thinks the bed-leg is perfectly 
sound. Then, the night you're ready, fetch the leg a kick, down 
she goes ; slip off your chain, and there you are. Nothing to do 
but hitch your rope ladder to the battlements, shin down it, 
break your leg in the moat because a rope ladder is nineteen 
foot too short, you know and there's your horses and your 
trusty vassles, and they scoop you up and fling you across a 


saddle, and -away you go to your native Langudoc, or Navarre, 
or wherever it is. It's gaudy, Huck. I wish there was a moat to 
this cabin. If we get time, the night of the escape, we'll dig one." 

I says: 

"What do we want of a moat when we're going to snake him 
out from under the cabin?" 

But he never heard me. He had forgot me and everything 
else. He had his chin in his hands, thinking. Pretty soon he 
sighs and shakes his head ; then sighs again, and says : 

"No, it wouldn't do there ain't necessity enough for it." 

"For what?" I says. 

"Why, to saw Jim's leg off," he says. 

"Good land!" I says; "why, there ain't no necessity for it. 
And what you want to saw his leg off for, anyway?" 

"Well, some of the best authorities has done it. They couldn't 
get the chain off, so they just cut their hand^ off and shoved. 
And a leg would be better still. But we got to let that go. There 
ain't necessity enough in this case; arid, besides, Jim's a nigger, 
and wouldn't understand the reasons for it, and how it's the 
custom in Europe; so we'll let it go. But there's one thing he 
can have a rope ladder ; we can tear up our sheets and make him 
a rope ladder easy enough. And we can send it to him in a pie ; 
it's mostly done that way. And I've et worse pies." 

"Why, Tom Sawyer, how you talk," I says; "Jim ain't go 
no use for a rope ladder." 

"He has got use for it. How you talk, you better say; you 
don't know nothing about it. He's got to have a rope ladder; 
they all do." 

"What in the nation can he do with it?" 

"Do with it? He can hide it in his bed, can't he? 

"That's what they all do; and he's got to, too. Huck, you 
don't ever seem to want to do anything that's regular; you want 
to be starting something fresh all the time. S'pose he don't do 
nothing with it? ain't it there in his bed, for a clue, after he's 


gone? and don't you reckon they'll want clues? Of course they 
will. And you wouldn't leave them any? That would be a pretty 
howdy-do, wouldn't it! I never heard of such a thing." 

"Well," I says, "if it's in the regulations, and he's got to 
have it, all right, let him have it; because I don't wish to go 
back on no regulations; but there's one thing, Tom Sawyer 
if we go to tearing up our sheets to make Jim a rope ladder, 
we're going to get into trouble with Aunt Sally, just as sure 
as you're born. Now, the way I look at it, a hickry-bark ladder 
don't cost nothing, and don't waste nothing, and is just as good 
to load up a pie with, and hide in a straw tick, as any rag ladder 
you can start ; and as for Jim, he ain't had no experience; and 
so he don't care what kind of a " 

"Oh, shucks, Huck Finn, if I was as ignorant as you I'd keep 
still that's what I'd do. Who ever heard of a state prisoner 
escaping by a hickry-bark ladder? Why, it's perfectly ridic- 

"Well, all right, Tom, fix it your own way; but if you'll take 
my advice, you'll let me borrow a sheet off of the clothes-line." 

He said that would do. And that gave him another idea, and 
he says : 

"Borrow a shirt, too." 

"What do we want of a shirt, Tom?" 

"Want it for Jim to keep a journal on." 

"Journal your granny Jim can't write." 

"S'pose he can't write he can make marks on the shirt, can't 
he, if we make him a pen out of an old pewter spoon or a piece 
of an old iron barrel-hoop?" 

"Why, Tom, we can pull a feather out of a goose and make 
him a better one; and quicker, too." ' 

ft Prisoners don't have geese running around the donjon- 
keep to pull pens out of, you muggins. They always make their 
pens out of the hardest, toughest, troublesomest piece of old 
brass candlesticks or something like that they can get their 


hands on ; and it takes them weeks and weeks and months and 
months to file it out, too, because they've got to do it by rub- 
bing it on the wall. They wouldn't use a goose-quill if they had 
it. It ain't regular." 

"Well, then, what '11 we make him the ink out of?" 

"Many makes it out of iron-rust and tears; but that's the 
common sort and women; the best authorities uses their own 
blood. Jim can do that; and when he wants to send any little 
common ordinary mysterious message to let the world knoAy 
where he's captivated, he can write it on the bottom of a tin 
plate with a fork and throw it out of the window. The Iron 
Mask always done that, and it's a blame' good way, too." 

"Jim ain't got no tin plates. They feed him in a pan." 

"That ain't nothing; we can get him some." 

"Can't nobody read his plates." 

"That ain't got anything to do with it, Huck Finn. All he's 
got to do is to write on the plate and throw it out. You don't 
have to be able to read it. Why, half the time you can't read 
anything a prisoner writes on a tin plate, or anywhere else." 

"Well, then, what's the sense in wasting the plates?" 

"Why, blame it all, it ain't the prisoner's plates." 

"But it's somebody's plates, ain't it?" 

"Well, spos'n it is? What does the prisoner care whose " 

He broke off there, because we heard the breakfast-horn 
blowing. So we cleared out for the house. 

Along during the morning I borrowed a sheet and a white 
shirt off of the clothes-line; and I found an old sack and put 
them in it, and we went down and got the fox-fire, and put that 
in too. I called it borrowing, because that was what pap always 
called it ; but Tom said it warn't borrowing, it was stealing. He 
said we was representing prisoners; and prisoners don't care 
how they get a thing so they get it, and nobody don't blame 
them for it, either. It ain't no crime in a prisoner to steal the 
thing he needs to get away with, Tom said ; it's his right ; and 

[SEE PAG E 3 14 J 

"There warn't no harm in them; but that never 
made no difference to Aunt Sally; she despised 
snakes, be the breed whaCthey might' 9 


so, as long as we was representing a prisoner, we had a perfect 
right to steal anything on this place we had the least use for to 
get ourselves out of prison with. He said if we warn't prisoners 
it would be a very different thing, and nobody but a mean, or- 
nery person would steal when he warn't a prisoner. So we al- 
lowed we would steal everything there was that come handy. 
And yet he made a mighty fuss, one day, after that, when I 
stole a watermelon out of the nigger patch and eat it; and he 
made me go and give the niggers a dime without telling them 
what it was for. Tom said that what he meant was, we could 
steal anything we needed. Well, I says, I needed the water- 
melon. But he said I didn't need it to get out of prison with; 
there's where the difference was. He said if I'd 'a' wanted it 
to hide a knife in, and smuggle it to Jim to kill the seneskal 
with, it would 'a' been all right. So I let it go at that, though I 
couldn't see no advantage in my representing a prisoner if I 
got to set down and chaw over a lot of gold-leaf distinctions 
like that every time I see a chance to hog a watermelon. 

Well, as I was saying, we waited that morning till every- 
body was settled down to business, and nobody in sight around 
the yard ; then Tom he carried the sack into the lean-to whilst 
I stood off a piece to keep watch. By and by he come out, and 
we went and set down on the woodpile to talk. He says : 

"Everything's all right now except tools; and that's easy 

"Tools?" I says. 


"Tools for what?" 

"Why, to dig with. We ain't a-going to gnaw him out, are 
we?" * * . 

"Ain't them old crippled picks and things in there good 
enough to dig a nigger out with?" I says. 

He turns on me, looking pitying enough to make a body cry, 
and says: 


"Huck Finn, did you ever hear of a prisoner having picks 
and shovels, and all the modern conveniences in his wardrobe 
to dig himself out with? Now I want to ask you if you got any 
reasonableness in you at all what kind of a show would that 
give him to be a hero ? Why, they might as well lend him the key 
and done with it. Pick and shovels why, they wouldn't fur- 
nish 'em to a king." 

"Well, then," I says, "if we don't want the picks and shovels, 
what do we want?" 

"A couple of case-knives." 

"To dig the foundations out from under that cabin with?" 


"Confound it, it's foolish, Tom." 

"It don't make no difference how foolish it is, it's the right 
way and it's the regular way. And there ain't no other way, 
that ever / heard of, and I've read all the books that gives any 
information about these things. They always dig out with a 
case-knife and not through dirt, mind you; generly it's 
through solid rock. And it takes them weeks and weeks and 
weeks, and for ever and ever. Why, look at one of them pris- 
oners in the bottom dungeon of the Castle Deef , in the harbor 
of Marseilles, that dug himself out that way ; how long was he 
at it, you reckon?" 

"I don't know." 

"Well, guess." 

"I don't know. A month and a half." 

ff Thirty-seven year and he come out in China. That's the 
kind. I wish the bottom of this fortress was solid rock." 

"Jim don't know nobody in China." 

"What's that got to do with it? Neither did that other fellow. 
But you're always a-wandering off on a side issue. Why can't 
you stick to the main point?" 

"All right I don't care where he comes out, so he comes 
out; and Jim don't either, I reckon. But there's one thing, any- 


way Jim's too old to be dug out with a case-knife. He won't 

"Yes he will last, too. You don't reckon it's going to take 
thirty-seven years to dig out through a dirt foundation, do 

"How long will it take, Tom?" 

"Well, we can't resk being as long as we ought to, because it 
mayn't take very long for Uncle Silas to hear from down there 
by New Orleans. He'll hear Jim ain't from there. Then his 
next move will be to advertise Jim, or something like that. So 
we can't resk being as long digging him out as we ought to. By 
rights I reckon we ought to be a couple of years ; but we can't. 
Things being so uncertain, what I recommend is this : that we 
really dig right in, as quick as we can; and after that, we can 
let on,, to ourselves, that we was at it thirty-seven years. Then 
we can snatch him out and rush him away the first time there's 
an alarm. Yes, I reckon that '11 be the best way." 

"Now, there's sense in that," I says. "Letting on don't cost 
nothing; letting on ain't no trouble; and if it's any object, I 
don't mind letting on we was at it a hundred and fifty years. 
It wouldn't strain me none, after I got my hand in. So I'll 
mosey along now, and smouch a couple of case-knives." 

"Smouch three," he says; "we want one to make a saw out 

"Tom, if it ain't unregular and irreligious to sejest it," I 
says, "there's an old rusty saw-blade around yonder sticking 
under the weather-boarding behind the smokehouse." 

He looked kind of weary and discouraged-like, and says: 

"It ain't no use to try to learn you nothing, Huck. Run along 
and smouch the knives three of them." So I done it. 



.S SOON as we reckoned everybody was asleep that night 
we went down the lightning-rod, and shut ourselves up in the 
lean-to, and got out our pile of fox-fire, and went to work. We 
cleared everything out of the way, about four or five foot along 
the middle of the bottom log. Tom said we was right behind 
Jim's bed now, and we'd dig in under it, and when we got 
through there couldn't nobody in the cabin ever know there 
was any hole there, because Jim's counterpin hung down most 
to the ground, and you'd have to raise it up and look under 
to see the hole. So we dug and dug with the case-knives till most 
midnight ; and then we was dog-tired, and our hands was blis- 
tered, and yet you couldn't see we'd done anything hardly. At 
last I says: 

"This ain't no thirty-seven-year job; this is a thirty-eight- 
year job, Tom Sawyer." 

He never said nothing. But he sighed, and pretty soon he 
stopped digging, and then for a good little while I knowed 
that he was thinking. Then he says: 

"It ain't no use, Huck, it ain't a-going to work. If we was 
prisoners it would, because then we'd have as many years as we 
wanted, and no hurry; and we wouldn't get but a few minutes 



to dig, every day, while they was changing watches, and so 
our hands wouldn't get blistered, and we could keep it up right 
along, year in and year out, and do it right, arid the way it ought 
to be done. But we can't fool along; we got to rush; we ain't got 
no time to spare. If we was to put in another night this way 
we'd have to knock off for a week to let our hands get well 
couldn't touch a case-knife with them sooner." 

"Well, then, what we going to do, Tom?" 

"I'll tell you. It ain't right, and it ain't moral, and I wouldn't 
like it to get out; but there ain't only just the one way: we got 
to dig him out with the picks, and let on it's case-knives." 

"Now you re talking!" I says; "your head gets leveler and 
leveler all the time, Tom Sawyer," I says. "Picks is the thing, 
moral or no moral; and as for me, I don't care shucks for the 
morality of it, nohow. When I start in to steal a nigger, or a 
watermelon, or a Sunday-school book, I ain't no ways partic- 
ular how it's done so it's done. What I want is my nigger; or 
what I want is my watermelon; or what I want is my Sunday- 
school book; and if a pick's the handiest thing, that's the thing 
I'm a-going to dig that nigger or that watermelon or that Sun- 
day-school book out with ; and I don't give a dead rat what the 
authorities thinks about it nuther." 

"Well," he says, "there's excuse for picks and letting on in 
a case like this ; if it warn't so, I wouldn't approve of it, nor I 
wouldn't stand by and see the rules broke because right is 
right and wrong is wrong, and a body ain't got no business do- 
ing wrong when he ain't ignorant and knows better. It might 
answer for you to dig Jim out with a pick, without any letting 
on, because you don't know no better; but it wouldn't for me, 
because I do know better. Gimme a case-knife." 

He had his own by him, but I handed him mine. He flung 
it down, and says : 

"Gimme a case-knife/' 

I didn't know just what to do but then I thought. I 


scratched around amongst the old tools, and got a pickax and 
give it to him, and he took it and went to work, and never said 
a word. 

He was always just that particular. Full of principle. 

So then I got a shovel, and then we picked and shoveled, 
turn about, and made the fur fly. We stuck to it about a half an 
hour, which was as long as we could stand up; but we had a 
good deal of a hole to show for it. When I got up-stairs I looked 
out at the window and see Tom doing his level best with the 
lightning-rod, but he couldn't come it, his hands was so sore. 
At last he says: 

"It ain't no use, it can't be done. What you reckon I better 
do? Can't you think of no way?" 

"Yes," I says, "but I reckon it ain't regular. Come up the 
stairs, and let on it's a lightning-rod." 

So he done it. 

Next day Tom stole a pewter spoon and a brass candlestick 
in the house, for to make some pens for Jim out of, and six 
tallow candles; and I hung around the nigger cabins and laid 
for a chance, and stole three tin plates. Tom says it wasn't 
enough; but I said nobody wouldn't ever see the plates that 
Jim throwed out, because they'd fall in the dog-fennel and 
jimpson weeds under the window-hole then we could tote 
them back and he could use them over again. So Tom was satis- 
fied. Then he says : 

"Now, the thing to study out is, how to get the things to 

"Take them in through the hole," I says, "when we get it 

He only just looked scornful, and said something about no- 
body ever heard of such an idiotic idea, and then he went to 
studying. By and by he said he had ciphered out two or three 
ways, but there warn't no need to decide on any of them yet. 
Said we'd got to post Jim first 


That night we went down the lightning-rod a little after ten, 
and took one of the candles along, and listened under the win- 
dow-hole, and heard Jim snoring; so we pitched it in, and it 
didn't wake him. Then we whirled in with the pick and shovel, 
and in about two hours and a half the job was done. We crept 
in under Jim's bed and into the cabin, and pawed around and 
found the candle and lit it, and stood over Jim awhile, and 
found him looking hearty and healthy, and then we woke him 
up gentle and gradual. He was so glad to see us he most cried ; 
and called us honey, and all the pet names he could think of; 
and was for having us hunt up a cold-chisel to cut the chain off 
of his leg with right away, and clearing out without losing any 
time. But Tom he showed him how unregular it would be, and 
set down and told him all about our plans, and how we could 
alter them in a minute any time there was an alarm; and not 
to be the least afraid, because we would see he got away, sure. 
So Jim he said it was all right, and we set there and talked over 
old times awhile, and then Tom asked a lot of questions, and 
when Jim told him Uncle Silas come in every day or two to 
pray with him, and Aunt Sally come in to see if he was com- 
fortable and had plenty to eat, and both of them was kind as 
they could be, Tom says: 

"Now I know how to fix it. We'll send you some things by 

I said, "Don't do nothing of the kind; it's one of the most 
jackass ideas I ever struck"; but he never paid no attention to 
me ; went right on. It was his way when he'd got his plans set. 

So he told Jim how we'd have to smuggle in the rope-ladder 
pie and other large things by Nat, the nigger that fed him, and 
he must be on the lookout, and not be surprised, and not let Nat 
see him open them; and we would put small things in uncle's 
coat pockets and he must steal them out; and we would tie 
things to aunt's apron strings or put them in her apron pocket, 
if we got a chance ; and told him what they would be and what 


they was for. And told him how to keep a journal on the shirt 
with his blood, and all that. He told him everything. Jim he 
couldn't see no sense in the most of it, but he allowed we was 
white folks and knowed better than him ; so he was satisfied, and 
said he would do it all just as Tom said. 

Jim had plenty corn-cob pipes and tobacco ; so we had a right 
down good sociable time ; then we crawled out through the hole, 
and so home to bed, with hands that looked like they'd been 
chawed. Tom was in high spirits. He said it was the best fun 
he ever had in his life, and the most intellectural; and said if he 
only could see his way to it we would keep it up all the rest of 
our lives and leave Jim to our children to get out; for he be- 
lieved Jim would come to like it better and better the more he 
got used to it. He said that in that way it could be strung out 
to as much as eighty years, and would be the best time on rec- 
ord. And he said it would make us all celebrated that had a 
hand in it. 

In the morning we went out to the woodpile and chopped 
up the brass candlestick into handy sizes and Tom put them 
and the pewter spoon in his pocket. Then we went to the nigger 
cabins, and while I got Nat's notice off, Tom shoved a piece of 
candlestick into the middle of a corn-pone that was in Jim's 
pan, and we went along with Nat to see how it would work, and 
it just worked noble; when Jim bit into it it most mashed all 
his teeth out ; and there warn't ever anything could 'a' worked 
better. Tom said so himself. Jim he never let on but what it 
was only just a piece of rock or something like that that's al- 
ways getting into bread, you know ; but after that he never bit 
into nothing but what he jabbed his fork into it in three or four 
places first. 

And whilst we was a-standing there in the dimmish light, 
here comes a couple of the hounds bulging in from under Jim's 
bed; and they kept on piling in till there was eleven of them, 


and there warn't hardly room in there to get your breath. By 
jings we forgot to fasten that lean-to doorl The nigger Nat he 
only just hollered " Witches" once, and keeled over onto the 
floor amongst the dogs, and begun to groan like he was dying. 
Tom jerked the door open and flung out a slab of Jim's meat, 
and the dogs went for it, and in two seconds he was out himself 
and back again and shut the door, and I knowed he'd fixed the 
other door too. Then he went to work on the nigger, coaxing 
him and petting him and asking him if he'd been imagining he 
saw something again. He raised up, and blinked his eyes 
around, and says : 

"Mars Sid, you'll say I's a fool, but if I didn't b'lieve I see 
most a million dogs, er devils, er some'n, I wisht I may die right 
heah in dese tracks. I did, mos, sholy. Mars Sid, I felt um I 
felt um, sah; dey was all over me. Dad fetch it, I jis' wisht I 
could git my ban's on one er dem witches jis' wunst on'y jis' 
wunst it's all Z'd ast. But mos'ly I wisht dey'd lemme 'lone, I 

Tom says: 

"Well, I tell you what I think. What makes them come here 
just at this runaway nigger's breakfast-time? It's because 
they're hungry; that's the reason. You make them a witch pie; 
that's the thing for you to do." 

"But my Ian', Mars Sid, how's I gwyne to make 'm a witch 
pie? I doan' know how to make it. I hain't ever hearn er sich a 
thing b'fo'.". 

"Well, then, I'll have to make it myself." 

"Will you do it, honey will you? I'll wusshup de groun' 
und'yo'foot, I will!" 

"All right, I'll do it, seeing it's you, and you've been good 
to us and showed us the runaway nigger. But you got to be 
mighty careful. When we come around, you turn your back; 
and then whatever we've put in the pan, don't you let on you 


see it at alL And don't you look when Jim unloads the pan 
something might happen, I don't know what. And above all, 
don't you handle the witch things." 

"Hannel 'm, Mars Sid? What is you a-talkin' 'bout? I 
wouldn't lay de weight er my finger on um, not f 'r ten hund'd 
thous'n billion dollars, I wouldn't." 


.HAT was all fixed. So then we went away and went to the 
rubbage-pile in the back yard, where they keep the old boots, 
and rags, and pieces of bottles, and wore-out tin things, and all 
such truck, and scratched around and found an old tin wash- 
pan, and stopped up the holes as well as we could, to bake the 
pie in, and took it down cellar and stole it full of flour and 
started for breakfast, and found a couple of shingle-nails that 
Tom said would be handy for a prisoner to scrabble his name 
and sorrows on the dungeon walls with, and dropped one of 
them in Aunt Sally's apron pocket which was hanging on a 
chair, and t'other we struck in the band of Uncle Silas's hat, 
which was on the bureau, because we heard the children say 
their pa and ma was going to the runaway nigger's house this 
morning, and then went to breakfast, and Tom dropped the 
pewter spoon in Uncle Silas's coat pocket, and Aunt Sally 
wasn't come yet, so we had to wait a little while. 

And when she come she was hot and red and cross, and 
couldn't hardly wait for the blessing; and then she went to 
sluicing out coffee with one hand and cracking the handiest 
child's head with her thimble with the other, and says: 

"I've hunted high and I've hunted low, and it does beat all 
what has become of your other shirt." 



My heart- fell down amongst my lungs and livers and things, 
and a hard piece of corn-crust started down my throat after it 
and got met on the road with a cough, and was shot across the 
table, and took one of the children in the eye and curled him up 
like a fishing- worm, and let a cry out of him the size of a war- 
whoop, and Tom he turned kinder blue around the gills, and it 
all amounted to a considerable state of things for about a quar- 
ter of a minute or as much as that, and I would 'a* sold out for 
half price if there was a bidder. But after that we was all right 
again it was the sudden surprise of it that knocked us so kind 
of cold. Uncle Silas he says: 

"It's most uncommon curious, I can't understand it. I know 
perfectly well I took it off , because " 

"Because you hain't got but one on. Just listen at that man! 
/ know you took it off, and know it by a better way than your 
wool-gethering memory, too, because it was on the clo's-line 
yesterday I see it there myself. But it's gone, that's the long 
and the short of it, and you'll just have to change to a red 
flann'l one till I can get time to make a new one. And it '11 be 
the third I've made in two years. It just keeps a body on the 
jump to keep you in shirts; and whatever you do manage to do 
with 'm all is more'n I can make out. A body'd think you would 
learn to take some sort of care of 'em at your time of life." 

"I know it, Sally, and I do try all I can. But it oughtn't to 
be altogether my fault, because, you know, I don't see them 
nor have nothing to do with them except when they're on me ; 
and I don't believe I've ever lost one of them off of me." 

"Well, it ain't your fault if you haven't, Silas; you'd 'a' done 
it if you could, I reckon. And the shirt ain't all that's gone, 
nuther. Ther's a spoon gone ; and that ain't all. There was ten, 
and now ther's only nine. The calf got the shirt, I reckon, but 
the calf never took the spoon, that's certain." 

"Why, what else is gone, Sally?" 

"Ther's six candles gone that's what. The rats could 'a' got 


the candles, and I reckon they did ; I wonder they don't walk 
off with the whole place, the way you're always going to stop 
their holes and don't do it; and if they warn't fools they'd sleep 
in your hair, Silas youd never find it out ; but you can't lay 
the spoon on the rats, and that I know/' 

"Well, Sally, I'm in fault, and I acknowledge it; I've been 
remiss; but I won't let to-morrow go by without stopping up 
them holes." 

"Oh, I wouldn't hurry; next year '11 do. Matilda Angelina 
Araminta Phelps!" 

Whack comes the thimble, and the child snatches her claws 
out of the sugar-bowl without fooling around any. Just then 
the nigger woman steps onto the passage, and says: 

"Missus, dey's a sheet gone." 

"A sheet gone! Well, for the land's sake!" 

"I'll stop up them holes to-day," says Uncle Silas, looking 

"Oh, do shet up! s'pose the rats took the sheet? Where's it 
gone, Lize?" 

"Clah to goodness I hain't no notion, Miss' Sally. She wuz 
on de clo's-line yistiddy, but she done gone: She ain' dah no 
mo' now." 

"I reckon the world is coming to an end. I never see the beat 
of it in all my born days. A shirt, and a sheet, and a spoon, and 
six can " 

"Missus," comes a young yaller wench, "dey's a brass cannel- 
stick miss'n." 

"Clear out from here, you hussy, er I'll take a skillet to ye!" 

Well, she was just a-biling. I begun to lay for a chance; I 
reckoned I would sneak out and go for the woods till the 
weather moderated. She kept a-raging right along, running her 
insurrection all by herself, and everybody else mighty meek 
and quiet; and at last Uncle Silas, looking kind of foolish, fishes 
up that spoon out of his pocket. She stopped, with her mouth 


open and her hands up ; and as for me, I wished I was in 
Jerusalem or somewheres. But not long, because she says: 

"It's just as I expected. So you had it in your pocket all the 
time; and like* as not you've got the other things there, too. 
How'd it get there?'' 

"I reely don't know, Sally," he says, kind of apologizing, 
"or you know I would tell. I was a-studying over my text in 
Acts Seventeen before breakfast, and I reckon I put it in there, 
not noticing, meaning to put my Testament in, and it must be 
so, because my Testament ain't in ; but I'll go and see ; and if the 
Testament is where I had it, I'll know I didn't put it in, and 
that will show that I laid the Testament down and took up the 
spoon, and " 

"Oh, for the land's sake! Give a body a rest! Go 'long now, 
the whole kit and biling of ye; and don't come nigh me again 
till I've got back my peace of mind." 

I'd 'a' heard her if she'd 'a' said it to herself, let alone speak- 
ing it out; and I'd 'a' got up and obeyed her if I'd 'a' been dead. 
As we was passing through the setting-room the old man he 
took up his hat, and the shingle-nail fell out on the floor, and he 
just merely picked it up and laid it on the mantel-shelf, and 
never said nothing, and went out. Tom see him do it, and re- 
membered about the spoon, and says: 

"Well, it ain't no use to send things by him no more, he ain't 
reliable." Then he says: "But he done us a good turn with the 
spoon anyway, without knowing it, and so we'll go and do him 
one without him knowing it stop up his rat-holes." 

There was a noble good lot of them down cellar, and it took 
us a whole hour, but we done the job tight and good and ship- 
shape. Then we heard steps on the stairs, and blowed out our 
light and hid ; and here comes the old man, with a candle in one 
hand and a bundle of stuff in t'other, looking as absent-minded 
as year before last. He went a-mooning around, first to one 
rat-hole and then another, till he'd been to them all. Then he 


stood about five minutes, picking tallow-drips off his candle 
and thinking. Then he turns off slow and dreamy towards the 
stairs, saying: 

"Well, for the life of me I can't remember when I done it. 
I could show her now that I warn't to blame on account of the 
rats. But never mind let it go. I reckon it wouldn't do 110 

And so he went on a-mumbling up-stairs, and then we left. 
lie was a mighty nice old man. And always is. 

Tom was a good deal bothered about what to do for a spoon, 
Lut he said we'd got to have it; so he took a think. When he 
had ciphered it out he told me how we was to do; then we went 
and waited around the spoon-basket till we see Aunt Sally com- 
ing, and then Tom went to counting the spoons and laying 
them out to one side, and I slid one of them up my sleeve, and 
Tom says: 

"Why, Aunt Sally, there ain't but nine spoons yet" 

She says : 

"Go 'long to your play, and don't bother me. I know better, 
I counted 'm myself." 

"Well, I've counted them twice, Aunty, and I can't make 
but nine." 

She looked out of all patience, but of course she come to 
count anybody would. 

"I declare to gracious ther' ain't but nine!" she says. "Why, 
what in the world plague take the things, I'll count 'm again." 

So I slipped back the one I had, and when she got done 
counting, she says : 

"Hang the troublesome rubbage, ther's ten now!" and she 
looked huffy and bothered both. But Tom says: 

"Why, Aunty, 7 don't think there's ten." 

44 You numskull, didn't you see me count 'm?" 

"I know, but" 

"Well, I'll count 'in again." 


So I smouched one, and they come out nine, same as the other 
time. Well, she was in a tearing way just a-trembling all over, 
she was so mad. But she counted and counted till she got that 
addled she'd start to count in the basket for a spoon sometimes; 
and so, three times they come out right, and three times they 
come out wrong. Then she grabbed up the basket and slammed 
it across the house and knocked the cat galley-west; and she 
said cler out and let her have some peace, and if we come both- 
ering around her again betwixt that and dinner she'd skin us. 
So we had the odd spoon, and dropped it in her apron pocket 
whilst she was a-giving us our sailing orders, and Jim got it all 
right, along with her shingle-nail, before noon. We was very 
well satisfied with this business, and Tom allowed it was worth 
twice the trouble it took, because he said now she couldn't ever 
count them spoons twice alike again to save her life; and 
wouldn't believe she'd counted them right if she did; and said 
that after she'd about counted her head off f6r the next three 
days he judged she'd give it up and offer to kill anybody that 
wanted her to ever count them any more. 

So we put the sheet back on the line that night, and stole one 
out of her closet; and kept on putting it back and stealing it 
again for a couple of days till she didn't know how many sheets 
she had any more, and she didn't care, and warn't a-going to 
bullyrag the rest of her soul out about it, and wouldn't count 
them again not to save her life ; she druther die first. 

So we was all right now, as to the shirt and the sheet and the 
spoon and the candles, by the help of the calf and rats and the 
mixed-up counting; and as to the candlestick, it warn't no con- 
sequence, it would blow over by and by. 

But that pie was a job; we had no end of trouble with that 
pie. We fixed it up away down in the woods, and cooked it 
there ; and we got it done at last, and very satisfactory, too ; but 
not all in one day; and we had to use up three washpans full of 
flour before we got through, and we got burnt pretty much all 


over, in places, and eyes put out with the smoke ; because, you 
see, we didn't want nothing but a crust, and we couldn't prop 
it up right, and she would always cave in. But of course we 
thought of the right way at last which was to cook the ladder, 
too, in the pie. So then we laid in with Jim the second night, 
and tore up the sheet all in little strings and twisted them to- 
gether, and long before daylight we had a lovely rope that you 
could 'a* hung a person with. We let on it took nine months to 
make it. 

And in the forenoon we took it down to the woods, but it 
wouldn't go into the pie. Being made of a whole sheet, that 
way, there was rope enough for forty pies if we'd 'a' wanted 
them, and plenty left over for soup, or sausage, or anything you 
chose. We could 'a' had a whole dinner. 

But we didn't need it. All we needed was just enough for 
the pie, and so we throwed the rest away. We didn't cook none 
of the pies in the wash-pan afraid the solder would melt ; but 
Uncle Silas he had a noble brass warming-pan which he thought 
considerable of, because it belonged to one of his ancesters with 
a long wooden handle that come over from England with Wil- 
liam the Conqueror in the Mayflower or one of them early ships 
and was hid away up garret with a lot of other old pots and 
things that was valuable, not on account of being any account, 
because they warn't, but on account of them being relicts, you 
know, and we snaked her out, private, and took her down there, 
but she failed on the first pies, because we didn't know how, but 
she come up smiling on the last one. We took and lined her 
with dough, and set her in the coals, and loaded her up with 
rag rope, and put on a dough roof, and shut down the lid, and 
put hot embers on top, and stood off five foot, with the long 
handle, cool and comfortable, and in fifteen minutes she turned 
out a pie that was a satisfaction to look at. But the person that 
et it would want to fetch a couple of kags of toothpicks along, 
for if that rope ladder wouldn't cramp him down to business I 


don't know, nothing what I'm talking about, and lay him in 
enough stomach-ache to last him till next time, too. 

Nat didn't look when we put the witch pie in Jim's pan ; and 
we put the three tin plates in the bottom of the pan under the 
vittles ; and so Jim got everything all right, and as soon as he 
was by himself he busted into the pie and hid the rope ladder 
inside of his straw tick, and scratched some marks on a tin plate 
and throwed it out of the window-hole. 




.AKING them pens was a distressid tough job, and so 
was the saw; and Jim allowed the inscription was going to be 
the toughest of all. That's the one which the prisoner has to 
scrabble on the wall. But he had to have it; Tom said he'd got 
to; there warn't no case of a state prisoner not scrabbling his 
inscription to leave behind, and his coat of arms. 

"Look at Lady Jane Grey," he says; "look at Gilford Dud- 
ley; look at old Northumberland! Why, Huck, s'pose it is con- 
siderable trouble what you going to do? how you going to 
get around it? Jim's got to do his inscription and coat of arms. 
They all do." 

Jim says : 

"Why, Mars Tom, I hain't got no coat o' arms; I hain't got 
nuffn but dis hyer ole shirt, en you knows I got to keep de 
journal on dat." 



"Oh, you don't understand, Jim; a coat of arms is very dif- 

"Well," I says, "Jim's right, anyway, when he says he ain't 
got no coat of arms, because he hain't." 

"I reckon / knowed that," Tom says, "but you bet he'll have 
one before he goes out of this because he's going out right, 
and there ain't going to be no flaws in his record." 

So whilst me and Jim filed away at the pens on a brickbat 
apiece, Jim a-making his'n out of the brass and I making mine 
out of the spoon, Tom set to work to think out the coat of 
arms. By and by he said he'd struck so many good ones he 
didn't hardly know which to take, but there was one which he 
reckoned he'd decide on. He says : 

"On the scutheon we'll have a bend or in the dexter base, a 
saltire murrey in the fess, with a dog, couchant, for common 
charge, and under his foot a chain embattled, for slavery, with 
a chevron vert in a chief engrailed, and three^ invected lines on 
a field azure, with the riombril points rampant on a dancette 
indented; crest, a runaway nigger, sable with his bundle over 
his shoulder on a bar sinister; and a couple of gules for sup- 
porters, which is you and me; motto, Maggiore fretta, minor e 
atto. Got it out of a book means the more haste the less 

"Geewhillikins," I says, "but what does the rest of it mean?" 

"We ain't got no time to bother over that," he says; "we got 
to dig in like all git-out." 

"Well, anyway," I says, "what's some of it? What's a fess?" 

"A fess a fess is you don't need to know what a fess is. 
I'll show him how to make it when he gets to it." 

"Shucks, Tom," I says, "I think you might tell a person. 
What's a bar sinister?" 

"Oh, I don't know. But he's got to have it. All the nobility 

That was just his way. If it didn't suit him to explain a thing 


to you, he wouldn't do it. You might pump at him a week, it 
wouldn't make no difference. 

He'd got all that coat-of-arms business fixed, so now he 
started in to finish up the rest of that part of the work, which 
was to plan out a mournful inscription said Jim got to have 
one, like they all done. He made up a lot, and wrote them out 
on a paper, and read them off, so : 

1. Here a captive heart busted. 

2. Here a poor prisoner., forsook by the world and friends, 
fretted his sorrowful life. 

3. Here a lonely heart broke, and a worn spirit went to its 
rest, after thirty-seven years of solitary captivity. 

4. Here, homeless and friendless, after thirty-seven years of 
bitter captivity, perished a noble stranger, natural son of 
Louis XIV. 

Tom's voice trembled whilst he was reading them, and he 
most broke down. When he got done he couldn't no way make 
up his mind which one for Jim to scrabble onto the wall, they 
was all so good ; but at last he allowed he would let him scrabble 
them all on. Jim said it would take him a year to scrabble such 
a lot of truck onto the logs with a nail, and he didn't know how 
to make letters, besides ; but Tom said he would block them out 
for him, and then he wouldn't have nothing to do but just fol- 
low the lines. Then pretty soon he says : 

"Come to think, the logs ain't a-going to do; they don't have 
log walls in a dungeon; we got to dig the inscriptions into a 
rock. We'll fetch a rock." 

Jim said the rock was worse than the logs ; he said it would 
take him such a pison long time to dig them into a rock he 
wouldn't ever get out. But Tom said he would let me help him 
do it. Then he took a look to see how me and Jim was getting 
along with the pens. It was most pesky tedious hard work and 


slow, and didn't give my hands no show to get well of the sores, 
and we didn't seem to make no headway, hardly ; so Tom says : 

"I know how to fix it. We got to have a rock for the coat of 
arms and mournful inscriptions, and we can kill two birds with 
that same rock. There's a gaudy big grindstone down at the 
mill, and we'll smouch it, and carve the things on it, and file out 
the pens and the saw on it, too." 

It warn't no slouch of an idea ; and it warn't no slouch of a 
grindstone nuther; but we allowed we'd tackle it. It warn't 
quite midnight yet, so we cleared out for the mill, leaving Jim 
at work. We smouched the grindstone, and set out to roll her 
home, but it was a most nation tough job. Sometimes, do what 
we could, we couldn't keep her from falling over, and she come 
mighty near smashing us every time. Tom said she was going 
to get one of us, sure, before we got through. We got her half 
way; and then we was plumb played out, and most drownded 
with sweat. We see it warn't no use; we got to go and fetch 
Jim. So he raised up his bed and slid the chain off of the bed- 
leg, and wrapt it round and round his neck, and we crawled out 
through our hole and down there, and Jim and me laid into 
that grindstone and walked her along like nothing; and Tom 
superintended. He could out-superintend any boy I ever see. 
He knowed how to do everything. 

Our hole was pretty big, but it warn't big enough to get the 
grindstone through; but Jim he took the pick and soon made 
it big enough. Then Tom marked out them things on it with 
the nail, and set Jim to work on them, with the nail for a chisel 
and an iron bolt from the rubbage in the lean-to for a hammer, 
and told him to work till the rest of his candle quit on him, and 
then he could go to bed, and hide the grindstone under his straw 
tick and sleep on it. Then we helped him fix his chain back on 
the bed-leg, and was ready for bed ourselves. But Tom thought 
of something, and says : 


"You got any spiders in here, Jim?" 

"No, sah, thanks to goodness I hain't, Mars Tom." 

"All right, we'll get you some." 

"But bless you, honey, I doan' want none. I's afeard un um. 
I jis' 's soon have rattlesnakes aroun'." 

Tom thought a minute or two, and says : 

"It's a good idea. And I reckon it's been done. It must 'a' 
been done; it stands to reason. Yes, it's a prime good idea. 
Where could you keep it?" 

"Keep what, Mars Tom?" 

"Why, a rattlesnake." 

"De goodness gracious alive, Mars Tom! Why, if dey was a 
rattlesnake to come in heah I'd take en bust right out thoo dat 
log wall, I would, wid my head." 

"Why, Jim, you wouldn't be afraid of it after a little. You 
could tame it." 


"Yes easy enough. Every animal is grateful for kindness 
and petting, and they wouldn't think of hurting a person that 
pets them. Any book will tell you that. You try that's all I 
ask; just try for two or three days. Why, you can get him so in 
a little while that hell love you; and sleep with you; and won't 
stay away from you a minute ; and will let you wrap him round 
your neck and put his head in your mouth." 

"Please, Mars Tom doan j talk so! I can't stan it! He'd 
let me shove his head in my mouf fer a favor, hain't it? I lay 
he'd wait a pow'ful long time 'fo' I ast him. En mo' en dat, I 
doan' want him to sleep wid me." 

"Jim, don't act so foolish. A prisoner's got to have some kind 
of a dumb pet, and if a rattlesnake hain't ever been tried, why, 
there's more glory to be gained in your being the first to ever 
try it than any other way you could ever think of to save your 


"Why, Mars Tom, I doan' want no sich glory. Snake take 'n 
bite Jim's chin off, den whah is de glory? No, sah, I doan' want 
no sich doin's." 

"Blame it, can't you try? I only want you to try you needn't 
keep it up if it don't work." 

"But de trouble all done ef de snake bite me while I's a-tryin' 
him. Mars Tom, I's willin' to tackle mos' anything 'at ain't on- 
reasonable, but ef you en Huck fetches a rattlesnake in heah 
for me to tame, I's gwyne to leave, dat's shore" 

"Well, then, let it go, let it go, if you're so bull-headed about 
it. We can get you some garter-snakes, and you can tie some 
buttons on their tails, and let on they're rattlesnakes, and I 
reckon that '11 have to do." 

"I k'n stan' dem, Mars Tom, but blame' 'f I couldn' get 
along widout um, I tell you dat. I never knowed b'fo' 'twas so 
much bother and trouble to be a prisoner." 

"Well, it always is when it's done right. You got any rats 
around here?" 

"No, sah, I hain't seed none." 

"Well, we'll get you some rats." 

"Why, Mars Tom, I doan' want no rats. Dey's de dad- 
blamedest creturs to 'sturb a body, en rustle roun' over 'im, en 
bite his feet, when he's tryin' to sleep, I ever see. No, sah, gimme 
g'yarter-snakes 'f I's got to have 'm, but doan' gimme no rats; 
I hain't got no use f 'r um, skasely." 

"But, Jim, you got to have 'em they all do. So don't make 
no more fuss about it. Prisoners ain't ever without rats. There 
ain't no instance of it. And they train them, and pet them, and 
learn them tricks, and they get to be as sociable as flies. But 
you got to play music to them. You got anything to play music 

"I ain' got nuffn but a coase comb en a piece o' paper, en a 
juice-harp; but I reck'n dey wouldn' take no stock in a juice- 


"Yes they would. They don't care what kind of music 'tis. 
A jew's-harp's plenty good enough for a rat. All animals like 
music in a prison they dote on it. Specially, painful music; 
and you can't get no other kind out of a jew's-harp. It always 
interests them ; they come out to see what's the matter with you. 
Yes, you're all right ; you're fixed very well. You want to set on 
your bed nights before you go to sleep, and early in the morn- 
ings, and play your jew's-harp ; play 'The Last Link is Broken' 
that's the thing that '11 scoop a rat quicker 'n anything else ; 
and when you've played about two minutes you'll see all the 
rats, and the snakes, and spiders and things begin to feel wor- 
ried about you and come. And they'll just fairly swarm over 
you, and have a noble good time." 

"Yes, dey will, I reck'n, Mars .Tom, but what kine er time is 
>Tim havin'? Blest if I kin see de pint. But I'll do it ef I got to. 
I reck'n I better keep de animals satisfied, en not have no trou- 
ble in de house." 

Tom waited to think it over, and see if there wasn't nothing 
else ; and pretty soon he says : 

"Oh, there's one thing I forgot. Could you raise a flower here, 
do you reckon?" 

"I doan' know but maybe I could, Mars Tom; but it's tolable 
dark in heah, en I ain' got no use f 'r no flower, nohow, en she'd 
be a pow'ful sight o' trouble." 

"Well, you try it, anyway. Some other prisoners has done 

"One er dem big cat-tail-lookin' mullen-stalks would grow 
in heah, Mars Tom, I reck'n, but she wouldn't be wuth half de. 
trouble she'd coss." 

"Don't you believe it. We'll fetch you a little one, and you 
plant it in the corner over there, and raise it. And don't call it 
mullen, ca41 it Pitchiola that's its right name when it's in a 
prison. And you want to water it with your tears." 

"Why, I got plenty spring water, Mars Tom." 


"You don't want spring water; you want to water it with 
your tears. It's the way they always do." 

"Why, Mars Tom, I lay I kin raise one er dem mullen-stalks 
twyste wid spring water whiles another man's a start 'n one wid 

"That ain't the idea. You got to do it with tears." 

"She'll die on my han's, Mars Tom, she sholy will; kase I 
doan' skasely ever cry." 

So Tom was stumped. But he studied it over, and then said 
Jim would have to worry along the best he could with an onion. 
He promised he would go to the nigger cabins and drop one, 
private, in Jim's coffee-pot, in the morning. Jim said he would 
"jis' 's soon have tobacker in his coffee"; and found so much 
fault with it, and with the work; and bother of raising the mullen, 
and jew's-harping the rats, and petting and flattering up the 
snakes and spiders and things on top of all the other work he 
had to do on pens, and inscriptions, and journals, and things, 
which made it more trouble and worry and responsibility to be 
a prisoner than anything he ever undertook, that Tom most lost 
all patience with him; and said he was just loadened down with 
more gaudier chances than a prisoner ever had in the world to 
make a name for himself, and yet he didn't know enough to 
appreciate them, and they was just about wasted on him. So 
Jim he was sorry, and said he wouldn't behave so no more, and 
then me and Tom shoved for bed. 



THE morning we went up to the village and bought a 
wire rat-trap arid fetched it down, and unstopped the best rat- 
hole, and in about an hour we had fifteen of the bulliest kind of 
ones; and then we took it and put it in a safe place under Aunt 
Sally's bed. But while we was gone for spiders little Thomas 
Franklin Benjamin Jefferson Elexander Phelps found it 
there, and opened the door of it to see if the rats would come 
out, and they did; and Aunt Sally she come in, and when we 
got back she was a-standing on top of the bed raising Cain, and 
the rats was doing what they could to keep off the dull times for 
her. So she took and dusted us both with the hickry, and we 
was as much as two hours catching another fifteen or sixteen, 
drat that meddlesome cub, and they warn't the likeliest, nuther, 
because the first haul was the pick of the flock. I never see a 
likelier lot of rats than what that first haul was. 

We got a splendid stock of sorted spiders, and bugs, and 
frogs, and caterpillars, and one thing or another; and we like 
to got a hornet's nest, but we didn't. The family was at home. 
We didn't give it right up, but stayed with them as long as we 
could; because we allowed we'd tire them out or they'd got to 
tire us out, and they done it. Then we got allycumpain and 
rubbed on the places, and was pretty near all right again, but 



couldn't set down convenient. And so we went for the snakes, 
and grabbed a couple of dozen garters and house-snakes, and 
put them in a bag, and put it in our room, and by that time it 
was supper-time, and a rattling good honest day's work; and 
hungry? oh, no, I reckon not! And there warn't a blessed 
snake up there when we went back we didn't half tie the sack, 
and they worked out somehow, and left. But it didn't matter 
much, because they was still on the premises somewheres. So we 
judged we could get some of them again. No, there warn't no 
real scarcity of snakes about the house for a considerable spell. 
You'd see them dripping from the rafters and places every 
now and then; and they generly landed in your plate, or down 
the back of your neck, and most of the time where you didn't 
want them. Well, they was handsome and striped, and there 
warn't no harm in a million of them; but that never made no 
difference to Aunt Sally; she despised snakes, be the breed what 
they might, and she couldn't stand them no" way you could 
fix it ; and every time one of them flopped down on her, it didn't 
make no difference what she was doing, she would just lay that 
work dow r n and light out. I never see such a woman. And you 
could hear her whoop to Jericho. You couldn't get her to take 
a-holt of one of them with the tongs. And if she turned over 
and found one in bed she would scramble out and lift a howl 
that you would think the house was afire. She disturbed the old 
man so that he said he could most wish there hadn't ever been 
no snakes created. Why, after every last snake had been gone 
clear out of the house for as much as a week Aunt Sally warn't 
over it yet ; she warn't near over it ; when she was setting think- 
ing about something you could touch her on the back of her 
neck with a feather and she would jump right out of her stock- 
ings. It was very curious. But Tom said all women was just so. 
He said they was made that way for some reason or other. 

We got a licking every time one of our snakes come in her 
way, and she allowed these lickings warn't nothing to what she 


would do if we ever loaded up the place again with them. I 
didn't mind the lickings, because they didn't amount to nothing; 
but I minded the trouble we had to lay in another lot. But we 
got them laid in, and all the other things ; and you never see a 
cabin as blithesome as Jim's was when they'd all swarm out for 
music and go for him. Jim didn't like the spiders, and the 
spiders didn't like Jim ; and so they'd lay for him, and make it 
mighty warm for him. And he said that between the rats and the 
snakes and the grindstone there warn't no room in bed for him, 
skasely; and when there was, a body couldn't sleep, it was so 
lively, and it was always lively, he said, because they never all 
slept at one time, but took turn about, so when the snakes was 
asleep the rats was on deck, and when the rats turned in the 
snakes come on watch, so he always had one gang under him, 
in his way, and t'other gang having a circus over him, and if he 
got up to hunt a new place the spiders would take a chance at 
him as he crossed over. He said if he ever got out this time he 
wouldn't ever be a prisoner again, not for a salary. 

Well, by the end of three weeks everything was in pretty 
good shape. The shirt was sent in early, in a pie, and every time 
a rat bit Jim he would get up and write a line in his journal 
whilst the ink was fresh; the pens was made, the inscriptions 
and so on was all carved on the grindstone; the bed-leg was 
sawed in two, and we had et up the sawdust, and it give us a 
most amazing stomach-ache. We reckoned we was all going to 
die, but didn't. It was the most undigestible sawdust I ever see; 
and Tom said the same. But as I was saying, we'd got all the 
work done now, at last ; and we was all pretty much fagged out, 
too, but mainly Jim. The old man had wrote a couple of times 
to the plantation below Orleans to come and get the runaway 
nigger, but hadn't got no answer, because there warn't no such 
plantation; so he allowed he would advertise Jim in the St. 
Louis and New Orleans papers; and when he mentioned the 
St. Louis ones it give me the cold shivers, and I see we hadn't 


no time to lose. So Tom said, now for the nonnamous letters, 

"What's them?'' I says. 

"Warnings to the people that something is up. Sometimes 
it's done one way, sometimes another. But there's always some- 
body spying around that gives notice to the governor of the 
castle. When Louis XVI. was going to light out of the Tooler- 
ies a servant-girl done it. It's a very good way, and so is the 
nonnamous letters. We'll use them both. And it's usual for the 
prisoner's mother to change clothes with him, and she stays in, 
and he slides out in her clothes. We'll do that, too." 

"But looky here, Tom, what do we want to warn anybody for 
that something's up? Let them find it out for themselves it's 
their lookout." 

"Yes, I know; but you can't depend on them. It's the way 
they've acted from the very start left us to do everything. 
They're so confiding and mullet-headed they don't take notice 
of nothing at all. So if we don't give them notice there won't be 
nobody nor nothing to interfere with us, and so after all our 
hard work and trouble this escape '11 go off perfectly flat ; won't 
amount to nothing won't be nothing to it." 

"Well, as for me, Tom, that's the way I'd like." 

"Shucks!" he says, and looked disgusted. So I says: 

"But I ain't going to make no complaint. Any way that suits 
you suits me. What you going to do about the servant-girl?" 

"You'll be her. You slide in, in the middle of the night, and 
hook that yaller girl's frock." 

"Why, Tom, that '11 make trouble next morning; because, 
of course, she prob'bly hain't got any but that one." 

"I know; but you don't want it but fifteen minutes, to carry 
the nonnamous letter and shove it under the front door." 

"All right, then, I'll do it; but I could carry it just as handy 
in my own togs." 

"You wouldn't look like a servant-girl then, would you?" 


"No, but there won't be nobody to see what I look like, any- 

"That ain't got nothing to do with it. The thing for us to do 
is just to do our duty, and not worry about whether anybody 
sees us do it or not. Hain't you got no principle at all?" 

"All right, I ain't saying nothing; I'm the servant-girl. 
Who's Jim's mother?" 

"I'm his mother. I'll hook a gown from Aunt Sally." 

"Well, then, you'll have to stay in the cabin when me and 
Jim leaves." 

"Not much. I'll stuff Jim's clothes full of straw and lay it on 
his bed to represent his mother in disguise, and Jim '11 take the 
nigger woman's gown off of me and wear it, and we'll all evade 
together. When a prisoner of style escapes it's called an evasion. 
It's always called so when a king escapes, f 'rinstance. And the 
same with a king's son; it don't make no difference whether 
he's a natural one or an unnatural one." 

So Tom he wrote the nonnamous letter, and I smouched the 
yaller wench's frock that night, and put it on, and shoved it 
under the front door, the way Tom told me to. It said: 

Beware. Trouble is brewing. Keep a sharp lookout. 


Next night we stuck a picture, which Tom drawed in blood, 
of a skull and crossbones on the front door ; and next night an- 
other one of a coffin on the back door. I never see a family in 
such a sweat. They couldn't 'a' been worse scared if the place 
had 'a' been full of ghosts laying for them behind everything 
and under the beds and shivering through the air. If a door 
banged, Aunt Sally she jumped and said "ouch!" if anything 
fell, she jumped and said "ouch!" if you happened to touch 
her, when she warn't noticing, she done the same ; she couldn't 
face no wav and be satisfied, because she allowed there was 


something behind her every time so she was always a-whirling 
around sudden, and saying "ouch," and before she'd got two- 
thirds around she'd whirl back again, and say it again ; and she 
was afraid to go to bed, but she dasn't set up. So the thing was 
working very well, Tom said; he said he never see a thing work 
more satisfactory. He said it showed it was done right. 

So he said, now for the grand bulge! So the very next morn- 
ing at the streak of dawn we got another letter ready, and was 
wondering what we better do with it, because we heard them say 
at supper they was going to have a nigger on watch at both 
doors all night. Tom he went down the lightning-rod to spy 
around; and the nigger at the back door was asleep, and he 
stuck it in the back of his neck and come back. This letter said : 

Don't betray me, I wish to be your friend. There is a desperate gang of 
cutthroats from over in the Indian Territory going to steal your runaway 
nigger to-night, and they have been trying to scare you so as you will stay 
in the house and not bother them. I am one of the gang, but have got relig- 
gion and wish to quit it and lead an honest life again, and will betray the 
helish design. They mil sneak down from northards, along the fence, at 
midnight exact, with a false key, and go in the nigger's cabin to get him- 
I am to "be off a piece and blow a tin horn If I see any danger; but stead 
of that I will BA llhe a sheep soon as they get in and not blow at all; then 
whilst they are getting his chains loose, you slip there and lock them in, and 
can kill them at your leasure. Don't do anything but just the way I am tell- 
ing you; If you do they will suspicion something and raise whoop-jamboree- 
hoo. I do not wish any reward but to know I have done the right thing. 




WAS FEELING pretty good after breakfast, and 
took my canoe and went over the river a-fishing, with a lunch, 
and had a good time, and took a look at the raft and found her 
all right, and got home late to supper, and found them in such 
a sweat and worry they didn't know which end they was stand- 
ing on, and made us go right off to bed the minute we was done 
supper, and wouldn't tell us what the trouble was, and never 
let on a word about the new letter, but didn't need to, because 
we knowed as much about it as anybody did, and as soon as we 
was half up-stairs and her back was turned we slid for the cellar 
cubboard and loaded up a good lunch and took it up to our 
room and went to bed, and got up about half past eleven, and 
Tom put on Aunt Sally's dress that he stole and was going to 
start with the lunch, but says : 

"Where's the butter?" 

"I laid out a hunk of it," I says, "on a piece of a corn-pone." 

"Well, you left it laid out, then it ain't here." 

"We can get along without it," I says. 

"We can get along with it, too," he says; "just you slide 
down cellar and fetch it. And then mosey right down the light- 
ning-rod and come along. I'll go and stuff the straw into Jim's 



clothes to represent his mother in disguise, and be ready to ba 
like a sheep and shove soon as you get there." 

So out he went, and down cellar went I. The hunk of butter, 
big as a person's fist, was where I had left it, so I took up the 
slab of corn-pone with it on, and blowed out my light, and 
started up-stairs very stealthy, and got up to the main floor all 
right, but here comes Aunt Sally with a candle, and I clapped 
the truck in my hat, and clapped my hat on my head, and the 
next second she see me ; and she says : 

"You been down cellar?" 


"What you been doing down there?" 




"Well, then, what possessed you to go down there this time 
of night?" 

"I don't know 'm." 

"You don't know? Don't answer me that way. Tom, I want 
to know what you been doing down there." 

"I hain't been doing a single thing, Aunt Sally, I hope to 
gracious if I have." 

I reckoned she'd let me go now, and as a generl thing she 
would ; but I s'pose there was so many strange things going on 
she was just in a sweat about every little thing that warn't 
yard-stick straight; so she says, very decided: 

"You just march into that setting-room and stay there till I 
come. You been up to something you no business to, and I lay 
I'll find out what it is before I'm done with you." 

So she went away as I opened the door and walked into the 
setting-room. My, but there was a crowd there! Fifteen farm- 
ers, and every one of them had a gun, I was most powerful sick, 
and slunk to a chair and set down. They were setting around, 
some of them talking a little, in a low voice, and all of them 


fidgety and uneasy, but trying to look like they warn't; but I 
knowed they was, because they was always taking off their hats, 
and putting them on, and scratching their heads, and changing 
their seats, and fumbling with their buttons. I warn't easy my- 
self, but I didn't take my hat off, all the same. 

I did wish Aunt Sally would come, and get done with me, 
and lick me, if she wanted to, and let me get away and tell Tom 
how we'd overdone this thing, and what a thundering hornet's 
nest we'd got ourselves into, so we could stop fooling around 
straight off, and clear out with Jim before these rips got out 
of patience and come for us. 

At last she come and begun to ask me questions, but I 
couldn't answer them straight, I didn't know which end of me 
was up ; because these men was in such a fidget now that some 
was wanting to start right now and lay for them desperadoes, 
and saying it warn't but a few minutes to midnight; and others 
was trying to get them to hold on and wait for the sheep-signal ; 
and here was Aunty pegging away at the questions, and me 
a-shaking all over and ready to sink down in my tracks I was 
that scared; and the place getting hotter and hotter, and the 
butter beginning to melt and run down my neck and behind 
my ears ; and pretty soon, when one of them says, "I'm for go- 
ing and getting in the cabin first and right now, and catching 
him when they come," I most dropped; and a streak of butter 
come a-trickling down my forehead, and Aunt Sally she see 
it, and turns white as a sheet, and says : 

"For the land's sake, what is the matter with the child? He's 
got the brain-fever as shore as you're born, and they're oozing 

And everybody runs to see, and she snatches off my hat, and 
out comes the bread and what was left of the butter, and she 
grabbed me, and hugged me, and says : 

"Oh, what a turn you did give me! and how glad and grateful 
I am it ain't no worse ; for luck's against. ijs. and it never rains 


but it pours, and when I see that truck I thought we'd lost you, 
for I knowed by the color and all it was just like your brains 
would be if Dear, dear, whyd'nt you tell me that was what 
you'd been down there for, / wouldn't 'a' cared. Now cler out 
to bed, and don't lemme see no more of you till morning!" 

I was up-stairs in a second, and down the lightning-rod in 
another one, and shinning through the dark for the lean-to. I 
couldn't hardly get my words out, I was so anxious ; but I told 
Tom as quick as I could we must jump for it now, and not a 
minute to lose the house full of men, yonder, with guns 1 

His eyes just blazed; and he says: 

"No! is that so? Ain't it bully! Why, Huck, if it was to do 
over again, I bet I could fetch two hundred. If we could put it 
off till" 

"Hurry! hurry r I says. "Where's Jim?" 

"Right at your elbow; if you reach out your arm you can 
touch him. He's dressed, and everything's reacly. Now we'll 
slide out and give-the sheep -signal." 

But then we heard the tramp of men coming to the door, and 
heard them begin to fumble with the padlock, and heard a man 

"I told you we'd be too soon; they haven't come the door is 
locked. Here, I'll lock some of you into the cabin, and you lay 
for 'em in the dark and kill 'em when they come ; and the rest 
scatter around a piece, and listen if you can hear 'em coming." 

So in they come, but couldn't see us in the dark, and most 
trod on us whilst we was hustling to get under the bed. But we 
got under all right, and out through the hole, swift but soft 
Jim first, me next, and Tom last, which was according to Tom's 
orders. Now we was in the lean-to, and heard trampings close 
by outside. So we crept to the door, and Tom stopped us there 
and put his eye to the crack, but couldn't make out nothing, it 
was so dark; and whispered and said he would listen for tlie 
steps to get further, and when he nudged us Jim must glide out 


first, and him last. So he set his ear to the crack and listened, 
and listened, and listened, and the steps a-scraping around out 
there all the time ; and at last he nudged us, and we slid out, and 
stooped down, not breathing, and not making the least noise, 
and slipped stealthy towards the fence in Injun file, and got to 
it all right, and me and Jim over it ; but Tom's britches catched 
fast on a splinter on the top rail, and then he hear the steps 
coming, so he had to pull loose, which snapped the splinter and 
made a noise ; and as he dropped in our tracks and started some- 
body sings out : 

"Who's that? Answer, or I'll shoot!" 

But we didn't answer; we just unfurled our heels and shoved. 
Then there was a rush, and a bang, bang, bang! and the bullets 
fairly whizzed around us! We heard them sing out: 

"Here they are! They've broke for the river! After 'em, boys, 
and turn loose the dogs!" 

So here they come, full tilt. We could hear them because 
they wore boots and yelled, but we didn't wear no boots and 
didn't yell. We was in the path to the mill; and when they got 
pretty close onto us we dodged into the bush and let them go 
by, and then dropped in behind them. They'd had all the dogs 
shut up, so they wouldn't scare off the robbers ; but by this time 
somebody had let them loose, and here they come, making pow- 
wow enough for a million ; but they was our dogs ; so we stopped 
in our tracks till they catched up ; and when they see it warn't 
nobody but us, and no excitement to offer them, they only just 
said howdy, and tore right ahead towards the shouting and 
clattering; and then we up-steam again, and whizzed along after 
them till we was nearly to the mill, and then struck up through 
the bush to where my canoe was tied, and hopped in and pulled 
for dear life towards the middle of the river, but didn't make no 
more noise than we was obleeged to. Then we struck out, easy 
and comfortable, for the island where my raft was; and we 
could hear them yelling and barking at each other all up and 


down the bank, till we was so far away the sounds got dim and 
died out. And when we stepped onto the raft I says : 

"Now, old Jim, you're a free man again, and I bet you won't 
ever be a slave no more." 

"En a mighty good job it wuz, too, Huck. It 'uz planned 
beautiful, en it 'uz done beautiful; en dey ain't nobody kin git 
up a plan dat's mo' mixed up en splendid den what dat one 

We was all glad as we could be, but Tom was the gladdest 
of all because he had a bullet in the calf of his leg. 

When me and Jim heard that we didn't feel as brash as what 
we did before. It was hurting him considerable, and bleeding; 
so we laid him in the wigwam and tore up one of the duke's 
shirts for to bandage him, but he says : 

"Gimme the rags; I can do it myself. Don't stop now; don't 
fool around here, and the evasion booming along so handsome ; 
man the sweeps, and set her loose! Boys, we done it elegant! 
'deed we did. I wish we'd 'a' had the handling of Louis XVI., 
there wouldn't 'a' been no 'Son of Saint Louis, ascend to 
heaven!' wrote down in his biography; no, sir, we'd 'a' whooped 
him over the border that's what we'd 'a' done with him and 
done it just as slick as nothing at all, too. Man the sweeps 
man the sweeps !" 

But me and Jim was consulting and thinking. And after 
we'd thought a minute, I says : 

"Say it, Jim." 

So he says : 

"Well, den, dis is de way it look to me, Huck. Ef it wuz him 
dat 'uz bein' sot free, en one er de boys wuz to git shot, would 
he say, 'Go on en save me, nemmine 'bout a doctor f 'r to save 
dis one'? Is dat like Mars Tom Sawyer? Would he say dat? 
You bet he wouldn't! Well, den, is Jim gwyne to say it? No, 
sah I doan' budge a step out'n dis place 'dout a doctor; not 
if it's forty year!" 


I knowed he was white inside, and I reckoned he'd say what 
he did say so it was all right now, and I told Tom I was a-go- 
ing for a doctor. He raised considerable row about it, but me 
and Jim stuck to it and wouldn't budge ; so he was for crawling 
out and setting the raft loose himself ; but we wouldn't let him. 
Then he give us a piece of his mind, but it didn't do no good. 

So when he sees me getting the canoe ready, he says: 

"Well, then, if you're bound to go, I'll tell you the way to do 
when you get to the village. Shut the door and blindfold the 
doctor tight and fast and make him swear to be silent as the 
grave, and put a purse full of gold in his hand, and then take 
and lead him all around the back alleys and everywheres in the 
dark, and then fetch him here in the canoe, in a roundabout 
way amongst the islands, and search him and take his chalk 
away from him, and don't give it back to him till you get him 
back to the village, or else he will chalk this raft so he can find 
it again. It's the way they all do." 

So I said I would, and left, and Jim was to hide in the woods 
when he see the doctor coming till he was gone again. 


. HE doctor was an old man ; a very nice, kind-looking old 
man when I got him up. I told him me and my brother was over 
on Spanish Island hunting yesterday afternoon, and camped 
on a piece of a raft we found, and about midnight he must 'a' 
kicked his gun in his dreams, for it went off and shot him in 
the leg, and we wanted him to go over there and fix it and not 
say nothing about it, nor let anybody know, because we wanted 
to come home this evening and surprise the folks. 
, "Who is your folks?" he says. 

"The Phelpses, down yonder." 

"Oh," he says. And after a minute, he says: 

"How'd you say he got shot?" 

"He had a dream," I says, "and it shot him." 

"Singular dream," he says. 

So he lit up his lantern, and got his saddle-bags, and we 
started. But when he see the canoe he didn't like the look of her 
said she was big enough for one, but didn't look pretty safe 
for two. I says : 

"Oh, you needn't be afeard, sir, she carried the three of us 
easy enough." 

"What three?" 



"Why, me and Sid, and and and the guns; that's what I 

"Oh," he says. 

But he put his foot on the gunnel and rocked her, and shook 
his head, and said he reckoned he'd look around for a bigger 
one. But they was all locked and chained ; so he took my canoe, 
and said for me to wait till he come back, or I could hunt around 
further, or maybe I better go down home and get them ready 
for the surprise if I wanted to. But I said I didn't ; so I told him 
just how to find the raft, and then he started. 

I struck an idea pretty soon. I says to myself, spos'n he can't 
fix that leg just in three shakes of a sheep's tail, as the saying 
is? spos'n it takes him three or four days? What are we going 
to do? lay around there till he lets the cat out of the bag? No, 
sir; I know what I'll do. I'll wait, and when he comes back if 
he says he's got to go any more I'll get down there, too, if I 
swim ; and we'll take and tie him, and keep him, and shove out 
down the river; and when Tom's done with him we'll give him 
what it's worth, or all we got, and then let him get ashore. 

So then I crept into a lumber-pile to get some sleep ; and next 
time I waked up the sun was away up over my head ! I shot out 
and went for the doctor's house, but they told me he'd gone 
away in the night some time or other, and warn't back yet. 
Well, thinks I, that looks powerful bad for Tom, and I'll dig 
out for the island right off. So away I shoved, and turned 
the corner, and nearly rammed my head into Uncle Silas's 
stomach! He says: 

"Why, Tom! Where you been all this time, you rascal?" 

ff l hain't been nowheres," I says, "only just hunting for the 
runaway nigger me and Sid." 

"Why, where ever did you go?" he says. "Your aunt's been 
mighty uneasy." 

"She needn't," I says, "because we was all right. We followed 
the men and the dogs, but they outrun us, and we lost them; 


but we thought we heard them on the water, so we got a canoe 
and took out after them and crossed over, but couldn't find 
nothing of them ; so we cruised along up-shore till we got kind 
of tired and beat out; and tied up the canoe and went to sleep, 
and never waked up till about an hour ago ; then we paddled 
over here to hear the news, and Sid's at the post-office to see 
what he can hear, and I'm a-branching out to get something 
to eat for us, and then we're going home." 

So then we went to the post-office to get "Sid"; but just as I 
suspicioned, he warn't there ; so the old man he got a letter out 
of the office, and we waited awhile longer, but Sid didn't come; 
so the old man said, come along, let Sid foot it home, or canoe 
it, when he got done fooling around but we would ride. I 
couldn't get him to let me stay and wait for Sid; and he said 
there warn't no use in it, and I must come along, and let Aunt 
Sally see we was all right. 

When we got home Aunt Sally was that glad to see me she 
laughed and cried both, and hugged me, and give me one of 
them lickings of hern that don't amount to shucks, and said 
she'd serve Sid the same when he come. 

And the place was plum full of farmers and farmers' wives, 
to dinner; and such another clack a body never heard. Old Mrs. 
Hotchkiss was the worst, her tongue was a-going all the time. 
She says : 

"Well, Sister Phelps, I've ransacked that-air cabin over, an I 
b'lieve the nigger was crazy. I says to Sister Damrell didn't 
I, Sister Damrell? s'l, he's crazy, s'l them's the very words I 
said. You all hearn me: he's crazy, s'l; everything shows it, 
s'l. Look at that-air grindstone, s'l ; want to tell me't any cre- 
tur 't's in his right mind 's a-goin' to scrabble all them crazy 
things onto a grindstone? s'l. Here sich 'n' sich a person busted 
his heart ; 'n' here so 'n' so pegged along for thirty-seven year, 
V all that natcherl son o' Louis somebody, 'n' sich everlast'n 
rubbage. He's plumb crazy, s'l; it's what I says in the fust 


place, it's what I says in the middle, 'n' it's what I says last 'n' 
all the time the nigger's crazy crazy 's Nebokoodneezer, 

v "An' look at that-air ladder made out'n rags, Sister Hotch- 
kiss," says old Mrs. Damrell; "what in the name o' goodness 
could he ever want of " 

"The very words I was a-sayin' no longer ago th'n this min* 
ute to Sister Utterback, 'n' she'll tell you so herself. Sh-she, 
look at that-air rag ladder, sh-she; 'n' s'l, yes, look at it, s'l 
what could he 'a' wanted of it? s'l. Sh-she, Sister Hotchkiss, 

"But how in the nation'd they ever git that grindstone in 
there, am/way? 'n' who dug that-air hole? 'n' who " 

"My very words, Brer Penrod! I was a-sayin' pass that- 
air sasser o' m'lasses, won't ye? I was a-sayin' to Sister Dun- 
lap, jist this minute, how did they git that grindstone in there? 
s'l. Without help, mind you 'thout help! Thar's where 'tis. 
Don't tell me, s'l; there wuz help, s'I;.'n' ther' wuz a plenty 
help, too, s'l ; ther's ben a dozen a-helpin' that nigger, 'n' I lay 
I'd skin every last nigger on this place but I'd find out who 
done it, s'l; 'n' moreover, s'l " 

"A dozen says you! forty couldn't 'a' done everything that's 
been done. Look at them case-knife saws and things, how tedi- 
ous they've been made ; look at that bed-leg sawed off with 'm, 
a week's work for six men: look at that nigger made out'n straw 
on the bed; and look at " 

"You may well say it, Brer Hightower! It's jist as I was 
a-sayin' to Brer Phelps, his own self. S'e, what do you think of 
it, Sister Hotchkiss? s'e. Think o' what, Brer Phelps? s'l. Think 
o' that bed-leg sawed off that a way? s'e. Think of it? s'l. I lay 
it never sawed itself off, s'l somebody sawed it, s'l ; that's my 
opinion, take it or leave it, it mayn't be no 'count, s'l, but sich 
as 't is, it's my opinion, s'l, 'n' if anybody k'n start a better one, 
s'l, let him do it, s'l, that's all. I says to Sister Dunlap, s'l " 


"Why, dog my cats, they must 'a' ben a house-full o 9 niggers 
in there every night for four weeks to 'a' done all that work, 
Sister Phelps. Look at that shirt every last inch of it kivered 
over with secret African writ'n done with blood! Must 'a' ben 
a raft uv 'm at it right along, all the time, amost. Why, I'd give 
two dollars to have it read to me; 'n' as for the niggers that 
wrote it, I 'low I'd take 'n' lash 'm t'll " 

"People to help him, Brother Marples! Well, I reckon you'd 
think so if you'd 'a' been in this house for a while back. Why, 
they've stole everything they could lay their hands on and we 
a'watching all the time, mind you. They stole that shirt right 
off o' the line! and as for that sheet they made the rag ladder 
out of, ther' ain't no telling how many times they didn't steal 
that; and flour, and candles, and candlesticks, and spoons, and 
the old warming-pan, and most a thousand things that I disre- 
member now, and my new calico dress; and me and Silas and 
my Sid and Tom on the constant watch day and night, as I was 
a-telling you, and not a one of us could catch hide nor hair nor 
sight nor sound of them ; and here at the last minute, lo and be- 
hold you, they slides right in under our noses and fools us, and 
not only fools us but the Injun Territory robbers too, and 
actuly gets away with that nigger safe and sound, and that with 
sixteen men and twenty-two dogs right on their very heels at 
that very time! I tell you, it just bangs anything I ever heard 
of. Why, sperits couldn't 'a' done better and been no smarter. 
And I reckon they must 'a' been sperits because, you know 
our dogs, and ther' ain't no better ; well, them dogs never even 
got on the track of 'm once! You explain that to me if you can! 
any of you!" 

"Well, it does beat" 

"Laws alive, I never " 

"So help me, I wouldn't 'a' be" 

"House-thieves as well as " 
, "Goodnessgracidussakes, I'd ben afeard to live in sich a " 


" 'Fraid to live! why, I was that scared I dasn't hardly go 
to bed, or get up, or lay down, or set down, Sister Ridgeway. 
Why, they'd steal the very why, goodness sakes, you can 
guess what kind of a fluster I was in by the time midnight come 
last night. I hope to gracious if I warn't afraid they'd steal some 
o' the family! I was just to that pass I didn't have no reasoning 
faculties no more. It looks foolish enough now, in the daytime ; 
but I says to myself, there's my two poor boys asleep, 'way up- 
stairs in that lonesome room, and I declare to goodness I was 
that uneasy 't I crep' up there and locked 'em in! I did. And 
anybody would. Because, you know, when you get scared that 
way, and it keeps running on, and getting worse and worse all 
the time, and your wits gets to addling, and you get to doing 
all sorts o' wild things, and by and by you think to yourself, 
spos'n / was a boy, and was away up there, and the door ain't 
locked, and you " She stopped, looking kind of wondering, 
and then she turned her head around slow, and when her eye 
lit on me I got up and took a walk. 

Says I to myself, I can explain better how we come to not 
be in that room this morning if I go out to one side and study 
over it a little. So I done it. But I dasn't go fur, or she'd 'a' 
sent for me. And when it was late in the day the people all 
went, and then I come in and told her the noise and shooting 
waked up me and "Sid," and the door was locked, and we 
wanted to see the fun, so we went down the lightning-rod, and 
both of us got hurt a little, and we didn't never want to try that 
no more. And then I went on and told her all what I told Uncle 
Silas before; and then she said she'd forgive us, and maybe it 
was all right enough anyway, and about what a body might 
expect of boys, for all boys was a pretty harum-scarum lot as 
fur as she could see; and so, as long as no harm hadn't come 
of it, she judged she better put in her time being grateful we 
was alive and well and she had us still, stead of fretting over 
what was past and done. So then she kissed me, and patted me 


on the head, and dropped into a kind of a brown-study; and 
pretty soon jumps up, and says: 

"Why, lawsamercy, it's most night, and Sid not come yet! 
What has become of that boy?" 

I see my chance ; so I skips up and says : 

"I'll run right up to town and get him," I says. 

"No you won't," she says. "You'll stay right wher' you are; 
one's enough to be lost at a time. If he ain't here to supper, 
your uncle '11 go." 

Well, he warn't there to supper; so right after supper uncle 

He come back about ten a little bit uneasy ; hadn't run across 
Tom's track. Aunt Sally was a good deal uneasy; but Uncle 
Silas he said there warn't no occasion to be boys will be boys, 
he said, and you'll see this one turn up in the morning all sound 
and right. So she had to be satisfied. But she said she'd set up 
for him awhile anyway, and keep a light burning so he could 
see it. 

And then when I went up to bed she come up with me and 
fetched her candle, and tucked me in, and mothered me so good 
I felt mean, and like I couldn't look her in the face ; and she set 
down on the bed and talked with me a long time, and said what 
a splendid boy Sid was, and didn't seem to want to ever stop 
talking about him ; and kept asking me every now and then if I 
reckoned he could 'a' got lost, or hurt, or maybe drownded, and 
might be laying at this minute somewheres suffering or dead, 
and she not by him to help him, and so the tears would drip 
down silent, and I would tell her that Sid was all right, and 
would be home in the morning, sure; and she would squeeze 
my hand, or maybe kiss me, and tell me to say it again, and 
keep on saying it, because it done her good, and she was in so 
much trouble. And when she was going away she looked down 
in my eyes so steady and gentle, and says : 

"The door ain't going to be locked, Tom, and there's the win- 


dow and the rod; but you'll be good, won't you? And you won't 
go? For my sake." 

Laws knows I wanted to go bad enough to see about Tom, 
and was all intending to go ; but after that I wouldn't 'a' went, 
not for kingdoms. 

But she was on my mind and Tom was on my mind, so I slept 
very restless. And twice I went down the rod away in the night, 
and slipped around front, and see her setting there by the 
candle in the window with her eyes towards the road and the 
tears in them ; and I wished I could do something for her, but 
I couldn't, only to swear that I wouldn't never do nothing to 
grieve her any more. And the third time I waked up at dawn, 
and slid down, and she was there yet, and her candle was most 
out, arid her old gray head was resting on her hand, and she was 


.HE old man was up-town again before breakfast, but 
couldn't get no track of Tom ; and both of them set at the table 
thinking, and not saying nothing, and looking mournful, and 
their coffee getting cold, and not eating anything. And by arid 
by the old man says : 

"Did I give you the letter?" 

"What letter?" 

"The one I got yesterday out of the post-office." 

"No, you didn't give me no letter." 

"Well, I must 'a' forgot it." 

So he rummaged his pockets, and then went off somewheres 
where he had laid it down, and fetched it, and give it to her. 
She says : 

"Why, it's from St. Petersburg it's from Sis." 

I allowed another walk would do me good; but I couldn't 
stir. But before she could break it open she dropped it and run 
for she see something. And so did I. It was Tom Sawyer on 
a mattress; and that old doctor; and Jim, in her calico dress, 



with his hands tied behind him; and a lot of people. I hid the 
letter behind the first thing that come handy, and rushed. She 
flung herself at Tom, crying, and says : 

"Oh, he's dead, he's dead, I know he's dead!" 

And Tom he turned his head a little, and muttered something 
3r other, which showed he warn't in his right mind; then she 
flung up her hands, and says : 

"He's alive, thank God ! And that's enough !" and she snatched 
a kiss of him, and flew for the house to get the bed ready, and 
scattering orders right and left at the niggers and everybody 
else, as fast as her tongue could go, every jump of the way. 

I followed the men to see what they was going to do with 
Jim; and the old doctor and Uncle Silas followed after Tom 
into the house. The men was very huffy, and some of them 
wanted to hang Jim for an example to all the Other niggers 
around there, so they wouldn't be trying to run away like Jim 
done, and making such a raft of trouble, and keeping a whole 
family scared most to death for days and nights. But the others 
said, don't do it, it wouldn't answer at all ; he ain't our nigger, 
and his owner would turn up and make us pay for him, sure. 
So that cooled them down a little, because the people that's al- 
ways the most anxious for to hang a nigger that hain't done 
just right is always the very ones that ain't the most anxious to 
pay for him when they've got their satisfaction out of him. 

They cussed Jim considerble, though, and give him a cuff or 
two side the head once in a while, but Jim never said nothing, 
and he never let on to know me, and they took him to the same 
cabin, and put his own clothes on him, and chained him again, 
and not to no bed-leg this time, but to a big staple drove into 
the bottom log, and chained his hands, too, and both legs, and 
he said he warn't to have nothing but bread and water to eat 
after this till his owner come, or he was sold at auction because 
he didn't come in a certain length of time, and filled up our 
hole, and said a couple of farmers with guns must stand watch 


around about the cabin every night, and a bulldog tied to the 
door in the daytime ; and about this time they was through with 
the job and was tapering off with a kind of generl good-by 
cussing, and then the old doctor comes and takes a look, and 

"Don't be no rougher on him than you're obleeged to, because 
he ain't a bad nigger. When I got to where I found the boy I 
see I couldn't cut the bullet out without some help, and he 
warn't in no condition for me to leave to go and get help ; and 
he got a little worse and a little worse, and after a long time he 
went out of his head, and wouldn't let me come a-nigh him 
any more, and said if I chalked his raft he'd kill me, and no end 
of wild foolishness like that, arid I see I couldn't do anything at 
all with him; so I says, I got to have help somehow; and the 
minute I says it out crawls this nigger from somewheres and 
says he'll help, and he done it, too, and done it very well. Of 
course I judged he must be a runaway nigger, and there I was! 
and there I had to stick right straight along all the rest of the 
day and all night. It was a fix, I tell you! I had a couple of 
patients with the chills, and of course I'd of liked to run up to 
town and see them, but I dasn't, because the nigger might get 
away, and then I'd be to blame; and yet never a skiff come close 
enough for me to hail. So there I had to stick plumb until day- 
light this morning; and I never see a nigger that was a better 
nuss or f aithfuler, and yet he was risking his freedom to do it, 
and was all tired out, too, and I see plain enough he'd been 
worked main hard lately. I liked the nigger for that ! I tell you, 
gentlemen, a nigger like that is worth a thousand dollars and 
kind treatment, too. I had everything I needed, and the boy 
was doing as well there as he would 'a' done at home better, 
maybe, because it was so quiet; but there I was, with both of 
'm on my hands, and there I had to stick till about dawn this 
morning; that some men in a skiff come by, and as good luck 
would have it the nigger was setting by the pallet with his head 


propped on his knees sound asleep ; so I motioned them in quiet, 
and they slipped up on him and grabbed him and tied him be- 
fore he knowed what he was about, and we never had no trou- 
ble. And the boy being in a kind of a flighty sleep, too, we 
muffled the oars and hitched the raft on, and towed her over 
very nice and quiet, and the nigger never made the least row nor 
said a word from the start. He ain't no bad nigger, gentlemen; 
that's what I think about him." 

Somebody says: 

"Well, it sounds very good, doctor, I'm obleeged to say." 

Then the others softened up a little, too, and I was mighty 
thankful to that old doctor for doing Jim that good turn ; and 
I was glad it was according to my judgment of him, too; be- 
cause I thought he had a good heart in him and was a good man 
the first time I see him. Then they all agreed that Jim had acted 
veiy well, and was deserving to have some notice took of it, and 
reward. So every one of them promised, right out and hearty, 
that they wouldn't cuss him no more. 

Then they come out and locked him up. I hoped they was 
going to say he could have one or two of the chains took off, 
because they was rotten heavy, or could have meat and greens 
with his bread and water; but they didn't think of it, and I 
reckoned it warn't best for me to mix in, but I judged I'd get 
the doctor's yarn to Aunt Sally somehow or other as soon as 
I'd got through the breakers that was laying just ahead of me 
explanations, I mean, of how I forgot to mention about Sid 
being shot when I was telling how him and me put in that 
dratted night paddling around hunting the runaway nigger. 

But I had plenty time. Aunt Sally she stuck to the sick-room 
all day and all night, and every time I see Uncle Silas mooning 
around I dodged him. 

Next morning I heard Tom was a good deal better, and they 
said Aunt Sally was gone to get a nap. So I slips to the sick- 
room, and if I found him awake I reckoned we could put up a 


yarn for the family that would wash. But he was sleeping, and 
sleeping very peaceful, too; and pale, not fire-faced the way he 
was when he come. So I set down and laid for him to wake. In 
about half an hour Aunt Sally comes gliding in, and there I 
was, up a stump again 1 She motioned me to be still, and set 
down by me, and begun to whisper, and said we could all be 
joyful now, because all the symptoms was first-rate, and he'd 
been sleeping like that for ever so long, and looking better and 
peacefuler all the time, and ten to one he'd wake up in his right 

So we set there watching, and by and by he stirs a bit, and 
opened his eyes very natural, and takes a look, and says: 

"Hello! why, I'm at home! How's that? Where's the raft?" 

"It's all right," I says. 

"And Jimr 

"The same," I says, but couldn't say it pretty brash. But he 
never noticed, but says : 

"Good! Splendid! Now we're all right and safe! Did you tell 

I was going to say yes ; but she chipped in and says : 

"About what, Sid?" 

"Why, about the way the whole thing was done." 

"What whole thing?" 

"Why the whole thing. There ain't but one ; how we set the 
runaway nigger free me and Tom." 

"Good land! Set the run What is the child talking about! 
Dear, dear, out of his head again!" 

"No, I ain't out of my HEAD; I know all what I'm talking 
about. We did set him free me and Tom. We laid out to do it, 
and we done it. And we done it elegant, too." He'd got a 
start, and she never checked him up, just set and stared and 
stared, and let him clip along, and I see it warn't no use for me 
to put in. "Why, Aunty, it costs us a power of work weeks of it 
hours and hours, every night, whilst you was all asleep. And 


we had to steal candles, and the sheet, and the shirt, and your 
dress, and spoons, and tin plates, and case-knives, and the 
warming-pan, and the grindstone, and flour, and just no end of 
things, and you can't think what work it was to make the saws, 
and pens, and inscriptions, and one thing or another, and you 
can't think half the fun it was. And we had to make up the pic- 
tures of coffins and things, and nonnamous letters from the rob- 
bers, and get up and down the lightning-rod, and dig the hole 
into the cabin, and make the rope ladder and send it in cooked 
up in a pie, and send in spoons and things to work with in your 
apron pocket " 

"Mercy sakes!" 

" and load up the cabin with rats and snakes and so on, for 
company for Jim; and then you kept Tom here so long with 
the butter in his hat that you come near spiling the whole busi- 
ness, because the men come before we was out of the cabin, and 
we had to rush, and they heard us and let drive at us, and I got 
my share, and we dodged out of the path and let them go by, 
and when the dogs come they warn't interested in us, but went 
for the most noise, and we got our canoe, and made for the raft, 
and was all safe, and Jim was a free man, and we done it all by 
ourselves, and wasnt it bully, Aunty!" 

"Well, I never heard the likes of it in all my born days! So it 
was you, you little rapscallions, that's been making all this 
trouble, and turned everybody's wits clean inside out and 
scared us all most to death. I've as good a notion as ever I had 
in my life to take it out o' you this very minute. To think, here 
I've been, night after night, a you just get well once, you 
young scamp, and I lay I'll tan the Old Harry out o' both 

But Tom, he was so proud and joyful, he just couldn't hold 
in, and his tongue just went it she a-chipping in, and spitting 
fire all along, and both of them going it at once, like a cat con- 
vention ; and she says : 


"Well, you get all the enjoyirient you can out of it now, for 
mind I tell you if I catch you meddling with him again " 

"Meddling with who?" Tom says, dropping his smile and 
looking surprised. 

"With who? Why, the runaway nigger, of course. Who'd 
you reckon?" 

Tom looks at me very grave, and says : 

"Tom, didn't you just tell me he was all right? Hasn't he got 

"Him?" says Aunt Sally; "the runaway nigger? 'Deed he 
hasn't. They've got him back, safe and sound, and he's in that 
cabin again, on bread and water, and loaded down with chains, 
till he's claimed or sold!" 

Tom rose square up in bed, with his eye hot, and his nostrils 
opening and shutting like gills, and sings out to me : 

"They hain't no right to shut him up ! Shove! and don't you 
lose a minute. Turn him loose! he ain't no slave; he's as free as 
any cretur that walks this earth!" 

"What does the child mean?" 

"I mean every word I say, Aunt Sally, and if somebody don't 
go, I'll go. I've knowed him all his life, and so has Tom, there. 
Old Miss Watson died two months ago, and she was ashamed 
she ever was going to sell him down the river, and said so ; and 
she set him free in her will." 

"Then what on earth did you want to set him free for, seeing 
he was already free?" 

"Well, that is a question, I must say; and just like women! 
Why, I wanted the adventure of it; and I'd 'a' waded neck-deep 
in blood to goodness alive, AUNT POLLY!" 

If she warn't standing right there, just inside the door, look- 
ing as sweet and contented as an angel half full of pie, I wish I 
may never! 

Aunt Sally jumped for her, and most hugged the head off 


of her, and cried over her, and I found a good enough place for 
me under the bed, for it was getting pretty sultry for us, seemed 
to me. And I peeped out, and in a little while Tom's Aunt 
Polly shook herself loose and stood looking across at Tom over 
her spectacles kind of grinding him into the earth, you know. 
And then she says: 

"Yes, you better turn y'r head away I would if I was you, 

"Oh, deary me!" says Aunt Sally; "is he changed so? Why, 
that ain't Tom, it's Sid; Tom's Tom's why, where is Tom? 
He was here a minute ago." 

"You mean where's Huck Finn that's what you mean! I 
reckon I hain't raised such a scamp as my Tom all these years 
not to know him when I see him. That would be a pretty 
howdy-do. Come out from under that bed, Huck Finn." 

So I done it. But not feeling brash. 

Aunt Sally she was one of the mixed-upest-looking persons 
I ever see except one, and that was Uncle Silas, when he come 
in and they told it all to him. It kind of made him drunk, as 
you may say, and he didn't know nothing at all the rest of the 
day, and preached a prayer-meeting sermon that night that 
gave him a rattling ruputation, because the oldest man in the 
world couldn't 'a' understood it. So Tom's Aunt Polly, she 
told all about who I was, and what ; and I had to up and tell 
how I was in such a tight place that when Mrs. Phelps took me 
for Tom Sawyer she chipped in and says, "Oh, go on and call 
me Aunt Sally, I'm used to it now, and 'taint no need to 
change" that when Aunt Sally took me for Tom Sawyer I 
had to stand it there warn't no other way, and I knowed he 
wouldn't mind, because it would be nuts for him, being a mys- 
tery, and he'd made an adventure out of it, and be perfectly 
satisfied. And so it turned out, and he let on to be Sid, and made 
things as soft as he could for me. 


And his Aunt Polly she said Tom was right about old Miss 
Watson setting Jim free in her will ; and so, sure enough, Tom 
Sawyer had gone and took all that trouble and bother to set 
a free nigger free ! and I couldn't ever understand before, until 
that minute and that talk, how he could help a body set a nigger 
free with his bringing-up. 

Well, Aunt Polly she said that when Aunt Sally wrote, to 
her that Tom and Sid had come all right and safe, she says to 

"Look at that, now! I might have expected it, letting him go 
off that way without anybody to watch him. So now I got to go 
and trapse all the way down the river, eleven hundred mile, 
and find out what that creetur's up to this time, as long as I 
couldn't seem to get any answer out of you about it." 

"Why, I never heard nothing from you," says Aunt Sally. 

"Well, I wonder! Why, I wrote you twice to ask you what 
you could mean by Sid being here." 

"Well, I never got 'em, Sis." 

Aunt Polly she turns around slow and severe, and says : 

"You, Tom!" 

"Well what r he says, kind of pettish. 

"Don't you what me, you impudent thing hand out them 

"What letters?" 

"Them letters. I be bound, if I have to take a-holt of you 

"They're in the trunk. There, now. And they're just the same 
as they was when I got them out of the office. I hain't looked 
into them, I hain't touched them. But I knowed they'd make 
trouble, and I thought if you warn't in no hurry, I'd " 

"Well you do need skinning, there ain't no mistake about it. 
And I wrote another one to tell you I was coming; and I s'pose 


"No, it come yesterday; I hain't read it yet, but it' 9 all right, 
I've got that one." 

I wanted to offer to bet two dollars she hadn't, but I reck- 
oned may be it was just as safe to not to. So I never said 



.HE first time I catched Tom private I asked him what was 
his idea, time of the evasion? what it was he'd planned to do 
if the evasion worked all right and he managed to set a nigger 
free that was already free before? And he said, what he had 
planned in his head from the start, if we got Jim out all safe, 
was for us to run him down the river on the raft, and have ad- 
ventures plumb to the mouth of the river, and then tell him 
about his being free, and take him back up home on a steamboat, 
in style, and pay him for his lost time, and write word ahead 
and get out all the niggers around, and have them waltz him 
into town with a torchlight procession and a brass-band, and 
then he would be a hero, and so would we. But I reckoned it 
was about as well the way it was. 

We had Jim out of the chains in no time, and when Aunt 
Polly and Uncle Silas and Aunt Sally found out how good 
he helped the doctor nurse Tom, they made a heap of fuss over 
him, and fixed him up prime, and give him all he wanted to eat, 
and a good time, and nothing to do. And we had him up to the 
sick-room, and had a high talk; and Tom give Jim forty dol- 
lars for being prisoner for us so patient, and doing it up so 
good, and Jim was pleased most to death, and busted out, and 



"Dah, now, Huck, what I tell you? what I tell you up dah 
on Jackson Islan'? I idle you I got a hairy breas', en what's de 
sign un it; en I tole you I ben rich wunst, en gwineter to be 
rich ag'in; en it's come true; en heah she is! Dah, now, doan' 
talk to me signs is signs, mine I tell you; en I knowed jis' 's 
well 'at I 'uz gwineter be rich ag'in as I's a-stannin' heah dis 

And then Tom he talked along and talked along, and says, 
le's all three slide out of here one of these nights and get an 
outfit, and go for howling adventures amongst the Injuns, over 
in the territory for a couple of weeks or two; and I says, all 
right, that suits me, but I ain't got no money for to buy the out- 
fit, and I reckon I couldn't get none from home, because it's 
likely pap's been back before now, and got it all away from 
Judge Thatcher and drunk it up. 

"No, he hain't," Tom says; "it's all there yet six thousand 
dollars and more; and your pap hain't ever been back since. 
Hadn't when I come away, anyhow." 

Jim says, kind of solemn: 

"He ain't a-comin' back no mo', Huck," 

I says: 

"Why, Jim?" 

"Nemmine why, Huck but he ain't comin' back no 


But I kept at him ; so at last he says : 

"Doan' you 'member de house dat was float'n down de river, 
en dey wuz a man in dah, kivered up, en I went in en unkivered 
him and didn' let you come in? Well, den, you kin git yo' money 
when you wants it, kase dat wuz him." 

Tom's most well now, and got his bullet around his neck on a 
watch-guard for a watch, and is always seeing what time it is, 
and so there ain't nothing more to write about, and I am rotten 
glad of it, because if I'd 'a' knowed what a trouble it was to 
make a book I wouldn't 'a' tackled it, and ain't a-ffoinsr to no 



more. But I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of 
the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivi- 
lize me, and I can't stand it. I been there before.